Distracted driving involves any activity that could distract a driver from the primary task of driving a car. In theory, it can also include daydreaming or any cognitive activity that removes your mental focus from the road.
Cellphones contribute to most cases of distracted driving. Many drivers feel the need to check their notifications any time they hear a ding or a buzz. Some drivers spend copious amounts of time scrolling through social media, FaceTiming, and sending text messages.
Are Alabama's distracted driving laws strict enough?
Several states have banned the use of cellphones and other handheld devices while driving. Alabama, unfortunately, isn't one of those states. Our state only bans texting and driving, but not other forms of cellphone use. That means drivers can make phone calls, browse the internet, take pictures and videos, and scroll through social media. If they get pulled over by police, they may be able to argue that they weren't texting.
This issue was raised in a recent study cited in Forbes. The study gave each state a score of up to 100 points, depending on how strict or lenient their distracted driving laws are. Rhode Island ranked No. 1 in the study with a score of 84.3. Alabama ranked No. 47 with a score of 38.7, however. This has placed Alabama among the five most lenient states when it comes to distracted driving laws and enforcement of existing laws.
Alabama lawmakers have previously attempted to push legislation to ban all cellphone uses while driving, but to no avail.
How prevalent is distracted driving?
According to the National Safety Council, there is no true way to know how prevalent distracted driving is because it is often not reported. Drivers will seldom admit to it after a crash. Moreover, there could be several distracted drivers on the road at any given time that you may not be aware of.
Not all forms of distracted driving are necessarily illegal or enforceable. For example, there is no law banning eating and drinking, using infotainment systems, or multi-tasking. Furthermore, these forms of distracted driving are often difficult to prove since they don't usually leave behind physical or digital evidence.
When a distracted driver causes a crash while using a cellphone, electronic records from the driver's mobile provider may be subpoenaed and used as evidence. If you were involved in a crash with a driver who was using a cellphone, an experienced Alabama car accident attorney may be able to obtain this evidence and help you build a strong legal claim.
Attorney Dean Waite has seen the devastation distracted drivers cause. He has helped injured motorists and their families maximize their compensation. To get started on your claim, contact Dean Waite & Associates, LLC online or call 866-434-5840. We offer free, confidential case evaluations.