In June of this year, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law Senate Bill 301. This law is now in effect and makes it illegal for drivers in Alabama to hold a cell phone while driving. The law states it is illegal to physically hold a wireless telecommunications device, physically hold or support a device, write, send, or read any text-based communication, watch a video or movie on a wireless telecommunications device, record or broadcast a video on a wireless telecommunications device, or use more than a single button or swipe of a finger to initiate voice communication.
Here are the Top 5 things you need to know about Alabama’s new “hands free” law
ONE: Driving with a phone in your hand is a Class C Misdemeanor
- According to the Alabama Criminal Code a Class C misdemeanor is the least serious misdemeanor offense but can still result in jail and fines. Class C misdemeanor punishment can result in the following: Incarceration of up to three months in jail; and/or Fines of up to $500.00.
TWO: Law Enforcement cannot pull you over just because they saw you with your phone in your hand.
- Driving with a phone in your hand is considered a Secondary Offense. This means that you first must commit some other offense to receive a citation. Such as, speeding, not using your blinker, utilizing the left lane for anything other than passing, or driving under the influence. Law Enforcement cannot pull you over or issue a citation without you first committing some other offense. If you are following the rules of the road and not committing any other traffic offense, Law Enforcement cannot pull you over because they saw you holding your phone.
THREE: You have about a year, or until June 2024 to receive a citation.
- No citations will be issued until June 2024 for driving with a phone in your hand. This gives Alabamians a year to get used to the new law. Until June 2024, only warnings will be issued.
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FOUR: Citations & Fines
- After June 2024, if you are issued a citation, you will be fined $50.00. If you receive a second citation within 24 months of receiving your first citation, you will be fined $100.00.
FIVE: Points on your Driver’s License
- The State of Alabama utilizes a Driver’s License Points system. If you receive too many points within a certain period of time, your driver’s license will be suspended.
- After June 2024, if you are issued a citation for hands free driving, you will receive one point on your license. If you receive a second citation within 24 months of receiving your first citation you will receive two points on your license.
And there you have the top 5 things you need to know about Alabama’s Hands Free Law. However, it is important to note that this new law does not apply to Police Officers, EMS workers and other first responders. To read the full law for more information and exceptions – click here.