April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month: What You Need to Know
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The National Safety Council reported that every day nine Americans die and 100 more are injured in distracted driving crashes. In Georgia, there were more than 20,000 distracted driving accidents in 2016, according to a study performed by the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
Fortunately, distracted driving injuries and death rates in Georgia have recently fallen following the implementation of the Hands-Free Georgia Act that requires drivers to use “hands free” technology for cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. Nonetheless, there are still thousands of accidents caused by distracted driving. If you or a loved one has been injured due to distracted driving, contact our distracted driving accident lawyers at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC. Call us today at (404) 419-6674 or use our online contact form for a free, no-risk consultation.
What is Distracted Driving?
According to the traffic safety experts at AAA, “distracted driving” generally refers to the following types of behaviors:
- Drivers taking their eyes off the road (visual)
- Drivers removing their hands from the steering wheel (manual)
- Drivers not having their mind on their driving (cognitive)
Texting while driving is one of the most common (and dangerous) causes of distracted driving crashes. It includes every aspect of distracted driving behavior: visual, manual, and cognitive. Your eyes are off of the road to look at the phone, you have at least one hand off the wheel, and you are thinking about your conversation or text rather than the road conditions in front of your vehicle. Other forms of distracted driving include applying makeup, eating, smoking, talking to passengers, or fiddling with entertainment systems.
You can protect yourself from distracted driving injuries by pledging not to use your cell phone while driving. Safety experts suggest that you turn it off or put it out of your reach. If you feel the need to respond to a call, text, or email, you should pull into a parking lot, put your vehicle in park, and then respond. Those practices will keep you from causing a distracted driving accident. You will also be able to react more quickly to avoid other distracted drivers on the road.
Georgia Law Prohibiting Distracted Driving
The Hands-Free Georgia Act prohibits drivers from:
- Having a phone in their hand or touching any part of their body while talking on their phone while driving
- Reading, writing, sending texts or emails while driving
- Watching and recording videos
- Controlling streaming music by touching the phone
It is permissible for drivers to listen to streaming music through their car radio and view their cell phone display for GPS navigational purposes.
Drivers that violate the Hands-Free Georgia Act will receive fines and points on their license. First offenders are assessed a $50 fine and 1 point on their license. A first offense will usually be dropped if the driver obtains a hands-free device. The fine for a second offense is $100 and 2 points are levied on the license. A third conviction leads to a $150 fine and 3 points.
Distracted Driving Injuries
Distracted drivers frequently cause rear-end collisions. According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, in 2016, there were 13,473 rear-end accidents caused by distracted driving. Even a minor rear-end crash can cause significant injuries, such as whiplash or even head trauma if the driver hits the steering wheel, windshield, or dashboard. Our attorneys have successfully represented many clients that were seriously injured in rear-end car accidents.
In some cases, distracted drivers cause deadly crashes or life-altering injuries. It is important that you contact our Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC if you have been injured in an auto accident because of distracted driving. We have the time, dedication, and resources to help our clients achieve full compensation for their losses. Contact us today at (404) 419-6674 or use our online contact form to schedule your appointment.