Mitchell Lattof | July 8, 2020 | Car Accidents
Using a cell phone while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. A driver who is using a cell phone is not giving his full attention to the road. Just a second or two of distraction is enough time for a deadly car accident to occur.
Alabama Cell Phone Use Laws While Driving
Laws have been introduced in the Alabama legislature to ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving. To date, none of those laws have been passed. Therefore, it is legal to use your handheld cell phone to make and receive calls while driving.
However, Alabama does ban all cell phone use for younger drivers. Drivers 16 years of age cannot use cell phones while driving. Teenage drivers 17 years of age who have only had a license for less than six months cannot use a cell phone while driving.
Alabama does have a ban on texting while driving. Drivers cannot read, type, or send text messages while driving.
The ban on texting while driving in Alabama is a primary enforcement law. A police officer can stop you for no other reason than to give you a traffic ticket for texting while driving.
How Can Cell Phone Use Cause a Traffic Accident?
When you use a cell phone while driving, you are not focused on the task of driving. The cell phone requires you to remove at least one or both hands from the steering wheel. Your eyes are not on the road ahead, and your mind is more focused on the cell phone.
Distractions increase the risk of causing a traffic accident. Over 400,000 people were injured and 2,841 people lost their lives in distracted driving accidents in 2018. In Alabama, at least 39 people died in distracted driving crashes in 2018.
When you are distracted, your reaction time decreases. By the time you realize you need to stop or take evasive measures, you may not have the time to do so.
For instance, a car slows down for a child crossing the road. However, you are looking at your cell phone to call a friend, so you never see the vehicle slowing down. You collide with the rear of the vehicle, which causes the vehicle to hit the child.
Consequences of Using a Cell Phone While Driving
The consequences of using a cell phone while driving can be catastrophic. The injuries and fatalities caused by distracted drivers can alter the lives of individuals and families forever.
Common injuries in distracted driving accidents caused by cell phone use include:
- traumatic brain injury
- broken bones and fractures
- neck injuries
- paralysis and spinal cord injuries
- back injuries
- scarring and disfigurement
- damage to internal organs
- PTSD and emotional disorders
Some accident victims sustain permanent impairments or disabilities. In some cases, a driver using a cell phone causes the death of another person.
Civil Penalties for Using a Cell Phone While Driving
A person who is injured in a distracted driving accident might be entitled to compensation or injuries, damages, and losses. Common damages in a distracted driving accident claim include:
- medical expenses
- past and future loss of income
- in-home health care and personal care
- permanent impairments and disabilities
- physical pain and suffering
- therapy costs
- emotional and mental anguish
- loss of enjoyment or quality of life
Families who lose a loved one in a distracted driving accident may be entitled to compensation under Alabama’s wrongful death statutes. The money cannot bring back a family member, but it can help the family recovery financially while punishing a negligent driver for his or her actions.
What to Do After a Distracted Driving Accident?
If you are involved in a distracted driving accident, call 911 to report the crash and request help. Stay at the scene of the accident until help arrives. Avoid talking to the other parties other than to offer aid and assistance if someone is injured.
While waiting for the police to arrive, try to take pictures or make a video of the accident scene. If there are witnesses, as each person for their contact information.
Make sure that you see a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries sustained in a car accident may not present symptoms for several hours or days. It is important that you see a doctor to determine the extent of your injuries and document those injuries for a claim.
Avoid talking to the insurance company for the other driver. Anything you say may be recorded. Innocent statements could end up hurting your chance of recovering maximum compensation for your injury claim.
You may also want to contact a car accident lawyer to discuss your case. An attorney explains your legal rights and options for filing a claim. An attorney can also help you avoid mistakes that could prevent you from recovering money for a distracted driving accident.