Alabama Hands-Free Driving Bills Proposed in House and Senate
Representative Allen Farley and Senator Jim McClendon recently proposed two separate bills that would make it illegal to use a phone while driving. The bills were created to significantly reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving, as cellphone usage is a major culprit.
In a previous blog post, we shared the story of a grieving mother, Michelle Lunsford, who lost her 17-year-old daughter in a distracted driving crash with a semi-truck last February. Since the tragic loss of her daughter, she has made it her mission to educate others about the real dangers of distracted driving and has worked with lawmakers to implement a hands-free driving law.
Now, Lunsford and lawmakers are on their way to making this goal a reality.
What’s the Difference Between the Current Law and Proposed Bill?
In 2012, a law was passed which makes it illegal to text while driving. However, there is no ban on holding a cell phone. This law is difficult to enforce as police must be able to determine a driver was using their phone to send a text.
Only drivers under the age of 18 with a restricted license are banned from using a cell phone. Exceptions include when a phone is used to contact emergency personnel.
The current fines for the texting while driving law are $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second and $75 for subsequent offenses. In addition, two points would be added to the driver’s record for each violation.
The new law would make it illegal to hold a phone while driving, and increase fines for breaking the law. Under Farley’s proposed bill, the first offense would incur a $50 fine, which would increase to $100 for the second offense and $150 for subsequent offenses. Those with three or more fines would receive three points against their licenses.
The Case for Safer Roads
Distracted driving is becoming a serious issue across the United States, especially given the prevalence of cell phone use. If you look around while driving, chances are you likely will see other drivers on their phones, texting, scrolling through social media, reading emails and more. Maybe that driver is you.
But how dangerous is it to drive in Alabama?
Alabama roads are notoriously one of the most dangerous to travel. Let’s take a look at some alarming statistics.
- 2-3 traffic fatalities occur each day in Alabama. That’s nearly 1,000 preventable deaths each year.
- Alabama has the second highest teen driving fatality rate in the nation
- Alabama drivers have a more than a 1 in 3 chance of being in a serious or fatal car accident in their lifetimes.
The serious risks of distracted driving, combined with Alabama’s alarming car accident rates likely make it one of the most dangerous states to drive in. These statistics cannot be ignored.
Opposition to the Bill
However, not everyone is completely on board with the bill. Some have voiced their concerns about how not interacting with their phones at all, even adjusting a GPS at a red light, can prove to be difficult. Unfortunately, as a society, using cellphones has become almost second-nature, and the driver’s seat of a car is no exception.
The Bottom Line
Driving can be incredibly dangerous, and distracted driving, primarily from cell phone use, is becoming increasingly risky, even deadly.
No one thinks the unthinkable will happen to them, until it does.
Michelle Lunsford’s daughter Camryn was driving home from work and sending a snapchat wishing a friend Happy Birthday when her life was tragically taken in a serious crash with a semi-truck. It was just a typical day, until it ended in tragedy.
Although the no-hands law may be controversial in the fact that it could be taking driver’s rights away, it is important to think even the smallest actions have consequences. Sending a short text or glancing at Instagram could be all it takes to completely change your life.
The next legislative session will be held in March, and no matter what happens, Alabama drivers should make a concerted effort to avoid using their phones while driving and be safer drivers.
Every time you reach for your phone while driving, it’s important to think about Michelle Lunsford’s teenage daughter and how her life was cut tragically short.
An accident can happen in an instant. Let’s do what we can to protect ourselves and our families.
Your Hometown Injury Attorneys Are Here to Help
If you or a loved one are seriously injured in a distracted driving accident that was not your fault, call the experienced Montgomery Car Accident Attorneys at Floyd Hunter at 334-523-8150.
When you call, you’ll receive a FREE case evaluation by an experienced Alabama car accident lawyer. There is never an attorney’s fee due upfront and we don’t get paid until you do. It’s that simple.
We will fight to protect your right to the fair insurance settlement that you deserve for your car accident claim. Call Floyd Hunter Injury Law for a Free Legal Consultation at 334-523-8150.
Call Floyd Hunter Injury Law, because the right lawyers make a real difference.