Alabama, the beautiful “Heart of Dixie”, holds treasures of all kinds. From Tennessee River canyons in the north to the white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico in the south, this state has something to offer every traveler. Famous for its southern hospitality, Alabama boasts historical museums, space exploration facilities, fine dining, world famous BBQ and a rich music scene. Taking a road trip through America’s “Yellowhammer State” can be an unforgettable adventure. And now, CheapCarInsurance.com has taken time to put together this information-packed list to help you be better protected in your travels.
Average Car Insurance Premiums
Alabama car insurance premiums have been consistently below the national average for nearly two decades. NAIC.org points out that the state’s premiums as a percentage of income recently fell below the national average, but as of 2013 it had inched back above the national average.
Drunk Driving Fatalities
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records Alabama as having been consistently below the national average in drunk driving fatalities up until 2013 when it was equal to the national average. In 2014, it ticked up slightly higher than the national average.
Teen Drinking and Driving
Alabama ranks high on its percentage of teen drinking and driving. It easily out ranks the national average, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Vehicular Theft in Alabama
Alabama’s vehicle theft rate dropped dramatically between 2011 and 2012, but has remained above that low through 2014. The FBI indicates that Alabama is below the national average.
LAWS & REGULATIONS
Just like Alabama’s mighty Mississippi River, state insurance laws are always on the move. To help you navigate through the winding regulations, here’s a few key points to keep in mind.
Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance in Alabama
- The Minimum Liability Insurance of Alabama policy states that liability coverage is required for all vehicles operated in Alabama.
- Liability Coverage minimums:
- $25,000 for death or bodily injury, per person.
- $50,000 for death or bodily injury, if multiple individuals are involved.
- $25,000 for property damage.
- Failure to insure a vehicle can result in a $500 fine for the first offense and a $1,000 fine for the second or subsequent offenses.
- Also, Alabama’s DMV makes it clear that if the vehicle is registered without insurance, fees can reach an additional $400 with a mandatory four-month registration suspension.
New Driver Licensing Requirements
- The Alabama Department of Public Safety requires every driver who operates a vehicle on public roadways to be licensed.
- New drivers or residents with a license that has been expired for 3 years or more must pass the drivers examination. An out of state driver with a license not expired over one year may obtain an Alabama license without taking the road test.
- New drivers must be 16 years of age or older to obtain a regular Alabama drivers license.
- If under age 19, drivers must provide proof of secondary school graduation or current enrollment.
- Vision Screening. The vision test determines an applicant’s ability to clearly see, and if the applicant normally wears corrective lenses then the lenses should be worn for the test.
Failure to pass the test will result in a mandatory eye examination by an eye specialist to determine the need for corrective lenses. Either lenses will be issued and the applicant can report back to the screening administrator, or the exam will indicate no lenses are necessary and the applicant can take the remainder of the exam.
- Written Test. The written test evaluates the applicant’s knowledge of the Alabama Driver License Manual. Upon successful completion of this test, a regular driver license applicant will receive his/her picture license in the mail within 30 days. An applicant for a learner’s license will be issued a restricted picture license upon completion of the exam.
A learners license may be obtained by applicants ages 15 and 16; however, multiple restrictions apply, including the mandatory presence of a licensed occupant 21 years of age or older. The “Y” restriction license is valid for four years, at which time an applicant 16 years of age or older may complete the road test to obtain a regular drivers license.
- Road Test. The applicant must provide his/her own vehicle for the test, and the vehicle must be insured and registered. It must be in safe and proper working order and be adequately equipped. For a list of vehicle requirements for the road test, visit Alabama’s DPS website. A licensed driver must drive the vehicle to the test site, and, if the applicant fails, a licensed driver must be present to drive the vehicle away.
The road test evaluates the applicants ability to observe, to conrol the vehicle, to make a quick stop, to signal and turn, to backing, to knowledge of and obedience to traffic signs and signals and to make a successful three point turn. The test administrator may terminate the test and fail the applicant immediately if the applicant fails to obey a traffic law, refuses to cooperate with the administrator, is involved in an accident that the applicant could have avoided and/or the applicant makes any dangerous action.
- Fees. Every applicant must provide a testing fee of $5.00 and a license fee of $23.50.
- BAC limit: .08 Alabama DPS has instituted mandatory imprisonment/community service for any and all subsequent DUI/DWI violations. Following are the violations pertinent to each offense:
- First Offense:
- Minimum $500 and maximum $2,000 fine. Also, an additional $100 fine for the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund (IDTF) is required. (The IDTF fee applies in every subsequent offense as well.)
- Mandatory 90 day license suspension along with completion of DUI school.
- Possible imprisonment up to one year.
- Second Offense:
- Minimum $1,000 and maximum $5,000 fine.
- Minimum 20 days community service with up to 1 year of imprisonment possible.
- 1 year license suspension.
- Third Offense within 5 Years:
- Minimum $2,000 and maximum $10,000 fine.
- Minimum 60 days imprisonment without the possibility of suspension or probation. Maximum 1 year imprisonment.
- 3 year license suspension.
- Fourth or Subsequent Offenses within 5 Years – Class C Felony:
- Minimum $4,000 and maximum $10,000 fine.
- Minimum 1 year and maximum 10 years imprisonment.
- 5 year license suspension.
Texting & Driving Laws
Distraction.gov reports that Alabama recently banned all handheld and hands-free devices for novice drivers. The state has also banned all texting for all drivers.
Every state’s laws do a great job at keeping drivers on their toes. A good law to keep in mind states that windshield wipers are mandatory on all vehicles. A little less well-known law states that it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle. Good to know!