Local Laws

While Alabama’s laws are largely similar to those across the U.S., the state does have a variety of laws that visitors should be aware of, from highway safety guidelines to restrictions on alcohol and tobacco.

Important Documents for Travelers

For your safety and convenience, please have the following travel documents with you at all times when visiting Alabama:

  • Valid driver's license or non-driver photo ID from your home state or country
  • Passports for all travelers, including minors, in your party (if visiting from outside the United States)
  • Visas for all travelers, including minors, in your party (if visiting from outside the United States)
  • Health insurance or travel insurance information

Driving Laws

Speed limits: Alabama's maximum speed limit is 70 mph on interstate highways unless otherwise marked.

Lights on when raining: Alabama requires the use of lowbeam headlights when driving in the rain.

Passing and turning: Alabama permits right turns on red after making a full stop and seeing that the way is clear, unless a sign forbidding such turns is posted. All traffic in all lanes must stop for school and church buses while passengers get on or off. Buses are marked with flashing lights and stop signals.

Accidents: All accidents should be investigated by a law enforcement officer. Drivers involved in an accident are required to give first aid to others involved.

Safety belts and child restraints: Alabama law requires all front-seat occupants to buckle up. In front and back seats, children under 6 must occupy federally approved safety restraints. Five-year-olds may use safety belts instead of child safety seats, which are mandatory for children 4 and under.

Emergency vehicles: Drivers must yield to emergency vehicles. Pull as far to the right as possible and stop to let the emergency vehicle pass.

Texting while driving: Cell phone texting or emailing while driving is illegal in Alabama, with state fines ranging from $25 to $75. Several cities have enacted their own penalties, as well. For your own safety and that of other drivers, do not send or view text messages while driving.

Move over law: Alabama law requires all motorists to move over when approaching emergency vehicles that are stopped with their flashing emergency lights activated.

  • 4 or more lanes: Move over one lane or slow down to at least 15 mph below the posted speed limit if it is not possible to move over.
  • 2 lanes: Move over as far as possible without leaving the lane and slow down to at least 15 mph below the posted speed limit.

Motorcycle regulations:

  • Safety helmets are required while driving a motorcycle in Alabama.
  • Insurance: Compulsory liability (Minimum limits 20/40/10)
  • Eye protection: Not required
  • Daytime use of headlight: Modulating headlight permitted
  • Passenger seat: Required if carrying passenger
  • Passenger age limit: No age limit
  • Helmet speakers: No restrictions
  • Mirror: One required
  • Turn signals: None required
  • Muffler: No acoustical criteria
  • Handlebar height: Maximum of 15 inches above seat
  • Lane splitting: Motorcycles cannot pass other vehicles in the same lane. Motorcycles also cannot be driven between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lanes or rows of vehicles.

Hunting, Fishing & Boating

Hunting: Alabama is famous for its wide array of hunting opportunities, but all visiting hunters and trappers are required to have a Nonresident Alabama Hunting License. Hunters must also observe the hunting season calendar and bag limits. Learn how you can easily apply for a hunting license by visiting the hunting section of OutdoorAlabama.com.

Fishing: If you’re looking forward to fishing Alabama’s lakes, rivers or coastal waters, be sure to pick up an Alabama Fishing License in advance. Different licenses are required for freshwater or saltwater fishing. Learn more from the licenses section of OutdoorAlabama.com.

Boating: Adults visiting from outside Alabama are not required to obtain an Alabama Boating License unless they plan on operating a watercraft for more than 45 days. Learn more from the Boating section of OutdoorAlabama.com.

Alabama Alcohol & Tobacco Laws

The minimum age for buying, drinking or possessing alcohol in Alabama is 21. Visitors planning to drink should be sure to carry an official government ID, such as a passport. Alcohol sales are restricted on Sundays across Alabama, with some counties and cities allowing Sunday alcohol sales during specific hours. Some Alabama counties are completely “dry,” meaning that no alcohol can be purchased any day of the week.

To find out about alcohol rules in the counties you’ll be visiting, check with local businesses (such as the hotel or inn where you’ll be staying) or a state Welcome Center. It’s illegal to bring alcoholic beverages into Alabama if they were purchased outside Alabama.

Drivers may be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol if the alcohol content in their blood is 0.08 percent or above.

It is unlawful for someone under the age of 19 to purchase, use, possess or transport tobacco or tobacco products. Smoking restrictions vary by city and establishment, but the Alabama Clean Indoor Air Act does prohibit smoking in public places unless there is a designated smoking area.