Distracted Driving Accidents
On Wednesday, June 19, 2019 Marietta police used a creative tactic to catch distracted drivers. Dressed as utility workers, several police officers stationed themselves at a busy intersection looking for violators of the Georgia hands-free cell phone law. Once detected, vehicle descriptions were radioed to uniformed police officers waiting nearby to stop and ticket. According to the AJC article, “Sgt. Wayne Delk, spokesman with Cobb County police, said the traffic detail was done to remind drivers that the state’s hands-free law is still in effect and to reduce the number of collisions caused by distracted driving.”
The Hands Free Georgia Law took effect on July 1, 2018 and states:
All drivers operating a motor vehicle on any highway of this state are prohibited from:
- Holding or supporting, with any part of the body, a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device.
- Writing, sending or reading any text-based communication, including a text message, instant message, e-mail or internet data.
- Watching, recording, or broadcasting a video or movie.
The penalties are as follows:
- First conviction – 1 point and $50.00 fine
- Second conviction – 2 points and $100.00 fine
- Third or more convictions – 3 points and $150.00 fine
This law was put into effect to raise awareness and help curtail the rising vehicle collision fatalities on Georgia roads. According to the CDC, “Each day in the United States, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.”
The CDC defines a distracted driver as anyone driving while doing another activity which takes your attention from the road.
Drivers today are faced with a number of distractions and experts are pointing to technology as a rising culprit. An article in Psychology Today says, “The sheer volume of information that we are exposed to these days can attack all of our senses. While the ‘Age of Information’ may have made us better connected and informed, it has also made our lives more rushed, hectic and distracted.”
An alarming statistic from the United States Department of Transportation cites texting while driving creates a crash risk 23 times higher than driving while not distracted.
Types of Distractions
Distractions while driving can be classified into three main categories:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: mentally not focused on driving
These types of distractions happen every day – whether it’s turning around to check on your children in the backseat, digging for an item in your purse or losing focus on the road.
According to a HealthDay poll, most adults who drive confess to engaging in distracted driving behaviors. Besides the use of electronic devices, other behaviors found in the study include eating or drinking (86 percent of drivers admitted), combing or styling hair (20 percent admitted) and applying makeup (14 percent admitted).
While these behaviors are not surprising to most, what is surprising is your brain activity while driving and multitasking. Spatial processing and spatial attention decrease during moments of multitasking. Pair this with driving a vehicle and the result – a brain that is not fully activated.
How to Become Less Distracted
Some everyday distractions are hard to avoid. But, limiting technology use while driving is an easy fix. Below are several tips to lessen the technology temptation while driving a car:
- Put your phone in the “Do Not Disturb” mode.
- Program your navigation system before driving.
- Try to avoid eating and drinking certain foods while driving.
- Speak up if you see someone texting while driving.
- Avoiding reaching.
What if you are in an accident caused by a distracted driver?
A car accident can be devastating, especially if purposeful, reckless behavior caused the accident. Added to that is overwhelming aftermath; from calling the police to dealing with insurance companies and hiring attorneys – navigating the waters can be tricky.
The first consultation is absolutely free. Our personal injury lawyers handle all types of catastrophic injury, wrongful death and motor vehicle accident cases for clients in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Duluth, Decatur, Marietta, Chamblee and throughout the state of Georgia.
Call 404-400-1175 to discuss your options today.