January 24, 2023
Auto Accident

Originally appeared on September 20, 2021.

Since 2019, Alabama has been one of 48 states that bans texting while driving. But what about talking on the phone while driving?

Currently, it is not illegal to talk on your cell phone while you’re behind the wheel of your vehicle in Alabama. It’s also not illegal to hold your phone while driving, despite a close call in early 2021 when a bill that would ban handheld cell phone usage failed on a 48-47 vote in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Handheld Cell Phone Usage While Driving in Alabama

It’s not illegal to use a cell phone while driving as an adult, though it can be used to establish fault if you crash into someone while distracted by a phone. You won’t get pulled over by a police officer if they spot you talking on a handheld cell phone today, but that could and likely will change. Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic that drivers face nationwide, and there have been multiple attempts in the Alabama state legislature to ban handheld cell phone usage while behind the wheel.

It Is Illegal for Minors to Use Handheld Cell Phones While Driving.

While adults can legally hold their cell phones and chat while driving in Alabama, drivers under the age of 18 cannot. In fact, teens aren’t allowed to use their cell phones in any shape, form, or fashion while driving, and that includes sending and receiving text messages and emails in addition to making and receiving phone calls.

Exceptions to Alabama’s Texting-While-Driving Ban

Although all Alabama drivers are banned from texting while driving, there are a few exceptions to the law:

  • You can use text messaging to contact emergency services when applicable.
  • You can use text messaging when you’re legally parked or are pulled over on the shoulder of the road.

Avoid Distractions to Reduce Your Risk of an Auto Accident

Using a handheld cell phone while driving is simply a bad and potentially dangerous idea, even while it’s still perfectly legal. That’s because it can cause all three forms of distraction:

  • Visual distraction—Using your phone requires picking it up, looking at its screen, and either answering an incoming call or finding the contact information of the person you want to call.
  • Manual distraction—Using a handheld cell phone means that one of your hands is off your steering wheel, which can make you less able to maintain control over your vehicle.
  • Cognitive distraction—Studies prove that humans aren’t good multi-taskers and being preoccupied with a phone conversation means you aren’t paying close attention to the road.

What Should You Do if You Need to Make a Call While Driving?

Even though it’s much safer to avoid cell phone usage of any kind while you’re driving, emergencies and urgent situations can happen that necessitate making phone calls. When those situations occur, there are a few things you can do to reduce the increased risk of a crash you’ll face while using your phone:

  • Use speakerphone or your vehicle’s Bluetooth capabilities—If your vehicle is equipped with Bluetooth, use it to make or receive phone calls. Although this can still be distracting, it’s safer than manually picking up your phone.
  • Let a passenger answer or make the phone call—If you’re traveling with others, give your phone to them so that they can answer or make the phone call for you.
  • Pull over in a safe location—If you expect that your phone call will be long or will require intense concentration, such as a business call, pull over in a safe spot first. This will allow you to fully focus on the call without putting yourself and others at risk.

Injured by a Negligent Driver? We’re Here to Help.

At The Vance Law Firm, we protect innocent drivers who were injured through no fault of their own, and we hold negligent drivers accountable when they cause crashes. Illegal and unsafe cell phone usage is just one of many things negligent drivers do in Alabama that puts others at risk on our state’s streets, highways, and interstates, and we work hard to prove when negligence leads to crashes.

Contact our Alabama auto accident lawyers today if you or someone you love was hurt in a crash that wasn’t your fault. We’ll work hard to get you maximum compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

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