As Alabamans, we are rightfully proud of being from here. But there are parts of life in Alabama that do not make us so proud. For example, how many people practice distracted driving in this state.
According to a recent study, Alabama ranks 49th in the country in distracted driving. Only New Mexico, where drivers spend more than 8 percent of their time distracted by their smartphones, is worse. To compare other states in the region, Tennessee ranked 8th-lowest in distracted driving rate, while Mississippi ranked 19th and Georgia 38th.
The rankings are based on data compiled on distracted driving accident deaths by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as well as a private company’s data on drivers observed distracting themselves with their phones.
Alabama’s struggle against distracted driving deaths
By now, every state has some type of anti-distracted driving law in place. But some states are much stricter than others. Alabama is one of the most permissive states. Our law bans texting and driving but lets drivers handle their phones for any other reason, even if they are driving a school bus. The only exception is for 16-year-old drivers or 17-year-olds who have had their intermediate license for less than six months.
Whether or not Alabama’s relatively lax distracted driving laws are to blame, it is clear that too many drivers in this state choose to put themselves and other people on the road at needless risk. Motorists owe passengers, other drivers, bike riders and pedestrians a legal duty to drive reasonably safely. Driving and holding your phone in your hand at the same time is not reasonably safe — period.