There are some behaviors that can clearly be identified as dangerous; driving a car while talking on a cell phone is one of them. Since the advent of cellular phone technology the problem of auto accidents caused due to cell phone use while driving has been growing. By the end of 2009 there were an estimated 285 million cell phones in use in the United States. As a point of reference, the estimated number in 2001 was 120 million.
You see them in use everywhere even when people are behind the wheel of their car. The increase in use has an associated increase in use while driving which translates to an increase in associated auto accidents. Statistics have been compiled on accidents caused by cell phone use or with cell phone use as a contributing factor. The data and the anecdotal cries of those who have been impacted by this growing hazard have gotten the attention of state governments.
State Responses (as of May 2010)
- Hand Held Cell Phones – Seven states (California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon & Washington), Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand held cell phones while driving.
- All Cell Phone Use – No states currently have laws banning the use of all cell phones (including hands free). Many states do have bans for certain drivers
- 25 states and Washington, D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers
- 18 states ban cell phone use by school bus drivers when passengers are present
- Text Messaging – 26 states, Washington D.C. and Guam ban text messaging for all drivers.
- 8 additional states ban text messaging by novice drivers
- 2 states ban school bus drivers from texting while driving
- Distracted Driving – Some states address cell phone use while driving as a distracted driving issue included in laws addressing other issues impacting driver attention.
As of July, 2010 novice drivers in Alabama are prohibited from all cell phone use (including texting). The law is a “primary offense” which means that drivers can be stopped and cited for cell phone use without having committed any other traffic related violation. For the purpose of the Alabama law, novice driver is defined as 16 and 17 year olds with an intermediate license for less than six months.
Like Alabama, states will continue to respond to the impact of cellular phone use and auto accidents. Whether there are legal restrictions in place or not if you are injured in an auto accident by someone who is using their cell phone behind the wheel you have rights and deserve to be compensated for your injury. Please contact The Shelnutt Law Firm, P.C. online or by phone at 256-547-4988 today. We know the law and fight for your rights if you live in Birmingham or a surrounding area of Alabama.