driver texting while driving

One of the most irresponsible things a driver can do behind the wheel is not to pay attention to their surroundings, including traffic and road conditions. Yet, drivers in Athens continue to drive while distracted every day, causing significant problems for Alabama motorists caught in their path.

You should not have to shoulder the financial burden if you’ve been injured due to someone else’s careless driving. Our experienced distracted driving lawyers in Athens, Alabama, can assist you in holding the negligent driver accountable for their actions while seeking meaningful compensation to cover your medical expenses and other financial and personal losses.

If you have been injured by a distracted driver in Athens or elsewhere in Alabama, the legal team at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., wants to help. Get in touch with our Athens office today to set up a free consultation with one of our seasoned distracted driving accident lawyers. Talk to one of our team members to learn how they can build the most robust case possible on your behalf.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Defining distracted driving is easy. Avoiding distracted driving while out on Alabama roadways is significantly more difficult. Distracted driving is simply any action that takes a driver’s eyes, hands, or attention off of the safe operation of their vehicle.

The three main types of distractions include:

  • Visual distractions – Anything that diverts a driver’s eyes away from the road
  • Manual distractions – Actions that take a driver’s hand off the steering wheel
  • Cognitive distractions – When a driver’s mind is not focused on the task of driving

One of the most common and dangerous forms of distracted driving combines all three of the above. Texting while driving diverts a driver’s eyes, hands, and focus away from the safe operation of their vehicle.

Common Types of Distractions

The use of smartphones is one of the most familiar types of distracted driving. However, a wide variety of activities distract a driver. Some of the most common activities that can divert a driver’s eyes, hands, or attention span include:

  • Using a cell phone
  • Texting, emailing, or messaging apps
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Applying makeup, shaving, or grooming
  • Reading
  • Watching videos
  • Using a navigation system
  • Adjusting the stereo system and climate control
  • Daydreaming
  • Looking at the passing scenery or signage

While many of these activities seem commonplace, they can be immensely dangerous when operating a vehicle.

Alabama Laws on Texting and Driving

Alabama law prohibits all drivers from using wireless communication devices to write, send, or read text-based communications, per Alabama Code 32-5A-350. The term “texting” applies to all text-based messages, including emails and messages sent using messaging applications. Drivers caught texting while driving in Alabama can face fines of $25 up to $75, depending on the number of previous offenses on their driving record. These drivers can also have two demerit points added to their driving record.

Under a new hands-free law enacted in 2023, Alabama now also outlaws the use of handheld cell phones to make telephone calls behind the wheel. The law makes it illegal to drive while physically holding or supporting a wireless communications device with any part of the body. The law also prohibits the use of hands-free devices that require more than the press of a single button or a single finger swipe to begin or end a call.

Alabama’s distracted driving law also prohibits drivers from watching, recording, or broadcasting videos while driving. The law makes an exception for the use of GPS navigation. Voice-to-text messages are also permitted.

Alabama law enforcement officers were scheduled to begin ticketing drivers in June 2024 after a year of issuing warnings for violations while motorists became aware of the new law, according to a report from CBS 42 News in Birmingham.

Alabama’s negligence laws also apply to distracted drivers. State law requires all motorists to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. Driving while distracted is not a safe practice. Liability for the crash may rest on the shoulders of the distracted driver.

Distracted Driving Statistics in Athens, AL

The Alabama Department of Transportation estimates that texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in car accidents than non-texting drivers. It’s a statistic that highlights how dangerous distracted driving can be.

Data compiled by the Alabama Department of Transportation also estimates that, in just one recent year, the department recorded a total of 57 certified fatalities associated with distracted driving crashes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that, in a year’s time, over 2,800 people were killed, and 400,000 people were injured by crashes involving distracted drivers.

Common Types of Injuries from Distracted Driving

Distracted driving accidents can cause significant, even life-altering injuries to innocent victims. Often, treating these injuries can carry a hefty price tag in medical expenses, rehabilitation, and treatment costs.

Some of the most common types of injuries that result from distracted driving accidents include:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Strains
  • Sprains
  • Contusions
  • Lacerations

How to Prevent Distracted Driving

Alabama motorists can do several things to help prevent distracted driving accidents. Many prevention methods are simple and require no special tools, just a willingness to avoid temptation and drive responsibly.

You can help keep yourself and others safe on the road by:

  • Putting your phone in airplane mode
  • Leaving your phone in the backseat or in the console to avoid the temptation to look at it
  • Pulling over if you need to read or send a message
  • Asking passengers to avoid talking loudly
  • Educating your teens about the dangers of distracted driving
  • Avoiding eating and drinking in the car
  • Waking up early to avoid dressing or grooming on the road

Some cell phone companies and app makers also have technology that allows you to silence incoming messages while you are driving. Others can send an outgoing message automatically that lets others know you are on the road and will contact them when it is safe to do so.

Contact Our Experienced Distracted Driving Lawyers in Athens, AL, Today

If a distracted driver has injured you, the law firm of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., wants to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Since 1966, our legal team has stood up for injured victims just like you.

Contact our Athens distracted driving accident lawyers to set up a free consultation. We have a proven track record of success and want to help you pursue what you need to move forward after a distracted driving crash.