03 Aug Alabama: No Employee Texting or Email While Driving
Effective August 1, 2012, Alabama law now prohibits drivers from writing, sending or reading a text or email while operating a motor vehicle. First, second and third or subsequent offenses may lead to fines of $25, $50 and $75, respectively.
The law allows a driver to contact emergency services and send a text or email while parked. The law does not prohibit making or receiving cellular telephone calls or typing in a name or number to make such a call.
Law enforcement officers enforcing this section may treat a violation of this section as the “primary or sole reason” for issuing a citation to a driver and may pull over a driver suspected of violating the law.
Drivers may use a wireless communication device as a global positioning or navigation system to receive driving directions which has been pre-programmed with the desired coordinates. The programming of coordinates while operating a vehicle remains a violation of this section. Drivers may receive or send texts if parked on the shoulder of the highway, road or street.
Employees not only use their own wireless devices for personal reasons while working; but many jobs often require employees to input delivery and tracking information, customer requests, work performed, etc., on company wireless devices.
Employees driving in Alabama should be instructed these job tasks must still be performed; but compliance with the Alabama law is crucial to company safety programs and the avoidance of liability risks for both the employee and the employer. Supervisors should be instructed as well to comply with the law in trying to contact employee drivers.
By Don Benson