According to Drive Safe Alabama, distracted driving is anything that could take your attention away from the primary task of driving.
These distractions include:
- Using a cell phone, including calling, talking and texting
- Eating or drinking
- Putting on makeup
- Talking to passengers
- Looking at navigation system
- Adjusting the radio, CD or MP3 player
- Watching a video
It is illegal for teenagers who are between 16 and 17 years of age and who have had their license for less than six months to use a cell phone or any other mobile device at any time while they are driving. This includes sending or receiving instant messages, e-mails, and text messages, according to the DMV website. In the state of Alabama, a driver who is texting is 23 times more likely to get in an accident than a driver who is not texting while driving.
For drivers of all ages, communication using a cell phone, computer, digital assistant, text messaging device, or any other device that can send and receive message cannot be used while you are driving down the road. This does not include a device that can be fully operated via voice, which you use without either hand, except to activate or deactivate the voice operated feature.
In the State of Alabama, you are allowed to take cell phone calls while driving. Yet, the Department of Public Safety strongly suggests that you pull over to the side of the road, use a hands-free device, and do not talk about emotionally heated subjects. This is for your safety and the safety of those around you.
If you are caught violating any of these laws, you will be fined:
- The first violation consists of a $25 fine
- For the second violation, the fine increases to $50
- For the third and continuous violations, the fine is $75
The only exceptions to this law are if you are using your cell phone to contact an emergency service, are making a phone call from the side of the road, or using a navigation system that has preprogrammed directions in it.
Note: If you are entering your destination into the GPS while you are driving, this is in violation of the law so make sure to do it beforehand.
In Alabama, it is best to pull over to the side of the road if you need to make or answer a phone call, read an email, or send a text message. This is recommended to minimize distractions and keep everyone on the road safe.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Cell Phones and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in Alabama and was authored by Valerie Johnston.