Is it illegal to text-and-drive in Alabama?
If there is anybody who seems to have a smartphone surgically attached to their hand, it’s just about any of the product experts working at the Team Gunther Volkswagen showroom. An anonymous straw poll taken around the dealership found that quite a few of us are guilty of distracted driving sometimes. The reason we were curious is that we get asked, ‘Is it illegal to text-and-drive in Alabama,’ when we are explaining the incredible features available with our lineup of hatchbacks, sedans and crossover SUVs. There is no credible study on driving safety that says it’s ok to text and drive. Our product experts thought it would be beneficial to clearly explain the legal consequences of this bad, if not outright dangerous, habit.
READ MORE: More Alabama driving laws you should know
What does the law say?
It is absolutely illegal for any driver to text, email or tweet while behind the vehicle of a vehicle in the state of Alabama. For drivers 16 or 17 years old, the consequences of getting a distracted driving ticket are pretty serious. The offense is considered a traffic violation which can carry fines of between $150 and $350, in addition to having two demerit points added to their license.
Things are a little different for those over 18. A first driving-and-texting ticket will cost drivers about $25, with second and third violations having fines of $50 and $75, respectively. Two demerit points will be assessed in all cases.
Are there any exceptions?
Alabama’s distracted driving laws do provide a few narrow exceptions for drivers. The most notable exception is that it will be ok to be on your phone if you are calling the police or emergency services. Also, if you safely pull off the road, you’ll be free to use your phone.
There is also a provision for GPS or other navigation systems, however, those devices must be pre-programmed. This means that if you set your Google Maps before you leave and are looking at the screen, you should be ok. What this exemption doesn’t apply to is typing an address into the navigation system or app while the vehicle in motion and on the road.
Volkswagen vehicles come with several systems that should easily help drivers avoid running afoul of the law. Ask a Team Gunther VW product expert today to show you how these systems work.