GEORGIA LAWS AIM TO KEEP DRIVER’S EYES ON THE ROAD
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, at any given moment during the day in the U.S., 660,000 people are using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving. Cobb County, as well as many counties across the nation, are experiencing car accidents, injuries and fatalities as a result of distracted drivers. In 2010, Georgia enacted laws to prevent accidents due to distracted drivers and combat the growing number of deathsoccurring in the state.
The DOT also reports that in 2011, over 3,300 fatalities and 387,000 people were injured in car accidents related to distracted drivers.
Distractions for drivers
Distracted driving encompasses any activity that causes a person to direct their attention away from driving safely. Distractions include:
- Using a smartphone or other device.
- Eating or drinking.
- Adjusting vehicle controls.
- Reading including maps or GPS units.
Though there are many more activities that can distract a driver, the most troublesome activity is texting while driving. Texting requires manual, visual and mental concentration which takes a driver’s attention away from driving. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that texting caused drivers to divert their eyes away from the road for an average of 4.5 seconds. Increasing the risk of a car accident.
Georgia House Bill 23 prohibits a driver under the age of 18 from using a wireless communication device while driving. It also includes a $150 fine and a point against the offender’s driver’s license. A similar law prohibits bus drivers from using any hand-held or wireless device and a third law bans texting across all groups of motor vehicle operators.
Distracted driving results in fatality
According to the Georgia Daily News, a 43-year old man who was believed to have been distracted by a camera, ran a stop sign and crashed into an 18-wheeler truck. The truck then hit another vehicle causing injuries to the driver. The man who ran the stop sign was killed on impact. The state trooper at the scene described it as one of the worst accidents that he had worked on and said he believed it was likely that the driver was distracted.
Technology has made it easy to communicate with people instantaneously, browse the web and get directions, all with a simple tap of a finger on an electronic device. However, this activity when performed while driving, has been dangerously distracting and has resulted in a multitude of injuries and even death.
Victims of accidents caused by distracted drivers should consult with an attorney in their area. An experienced attorney can explain the options available for obtaining compensation for injuries or loss and assist in protecting individual rights.