Distracted driving is a significant issue that has been plaguing road safety in the United States, particularly in Georgia. This blog post will delve into the impact of distracted driving, prevention measures, and how victims can recover compensation.
Distracted Driving: A Growing Concern
Distracted driving encompasses any activities that take your focus away from the road. This includes actions such as texting or making calls on your phone, eating, drinking, interacting with passengers in your car, or adjusting your car’s stereo, entertainment, or navigation systems.
In 2021, the United States saw 3,522 fatalities as a result of distracted driving. The previous year, in 2020, distracted driving was responsible for the deaths of 3,142 individuals.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was a factor in 8% of fatal accidents in 2021. In the same year, it was estimated that 362,415 individuals sustained injuries in accidents where distracted driving was involved.
The Impact on Road Safety
The impact of distracted driving on road safety is alarming. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. Traveling at a speed of 55 mph and not focusing on the road is akin to traversing the entire length of a football field with your eyes shut. Engaging in any activity unrelated to driving can serve as a distraction and heighten the risk of an accident.
In the state of Georgia, it was found that distracted drivers were involved in 54 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. Moreover, nearly a third (29 percent) of all accidents resulting in serious injuries involved at least one driver suspected or confirmed to be distracted.
Types of Distractions
Distractions while driving can be categorized into three types: manual, visual, and cognitive.
- Manual distractions cause you to take one or both hands off of the wheel. Some examples include eating and drinking, adjusting your child’s seatbelt, and smoking.
- Visual distractions cause your eyes to wander off of the road. Common examples are looking for items on the floor of the car, checking and adjusting your GPS, changing the radio station, and adjusting temperature controls.
- Cognitive distractions cause your mind’s focus to drift away from your driving. Examples include talking to another passenger, thinking about something upsetting, and daydreaming.
There are several ways to avoid distractions while driving.
- Stay focused and alert at all times.
- Take short quick glances and avoid prolonged staring.
- Never read while driving. Pull off the road to check or send text messages.
- Do not attempt to change or pull off clothing while driving.
- Take care of personal grooming (makeup, hair, etc.) before leaving or after arriving at your destination.
- Do not allow passengers to interfere with your concentration.
- Make sure children and pets are properly restrained before you start driving – and give children items to entertain themselves.
- Use pet carriers or portable kennels to stop animals from roaming around in the vehicle.
- Pull over and stop if small children require attention instead of taking your focus off the road.
- Avoid eating and drinking while driving – fumbling with napkins, wrappers, and beverages means you’re not watching the road.
Laws play a crucial role in curbing distracted driving incidents. According to studies conducted by National Academies and other organizations, jurisdictions with strong traffic safety laws supported by enforcement, public education, and outreach tend to have lower overall traffic fatality rates.
Following Georgia’s Hands-Free Law (which prohibits drivers from holding their phones while driving), there has been an increase in processed convictions for distracted driving.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If a distracted driver causes an accident, they can be held responsible in an insurance claim or lawsuit. A skilled Carrollton car accident lawyer can play a crucial role in helping victims seek the compensation they deserve.
Lawyers investigate the accident thoroughly, gathering crucial evidence such as witness statements, police reports, and medical records. They work diligently to prove the driver was distracted and at fault for the accident.
Lawyers negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of the victims, striving to secure fair compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Additionally, they advocate for their clients in court if a settlement cannot be reached.