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What Are the Dangers of Distracted Driving?

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Many drivers are so comfortable or confident behind the wheel that they think they can drive on autopilot. They believe they can stay in control of the vehicle while they engage in other activities. However, safe driving requires motorists to keep both hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. They also need to listen to what is going on around them. 

Unfortunately, many drivers are distracted and even the smallest distraction can lead to a serious crash. It’s important for every driver to know how dangerous distracted driving is. That way you can reduce the likelihood that you will get involved in a distracted driving accident. Of course, you can’t prevent other drivers from losing focus. Distracted driving puts everyone using the road at risk. If you get into a crash caused by a distracted driver, you should reach out to an Atlanta car accident lawyer.

Common Causes of Distracted Driving

Many people multitask when they drive. However, anything that takes some of a driver’s attention off the road can cause an accident. Distractions can be manual, visual or cognitive. That is, a driver may take their hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road or their minds off driving. You may think about cellphone use when you hear the term distracted driving. However, eating, changing the radio station, arguing with a passenger or trying to calm an active child are all distractions. Some drivers even style their hair, shave or apply makeup. It is impossible to make all distractions illegal. However, many states have laws against the use of cellphones and other electronic devices. These vary greatly among jurisdictions.

Laws Against Cell Phone Use in Atlanta 

It is illegal for motorists in Georgia to write, read or send text-based messages while operating a vehicle. This includes emails, texts, and instant messages. The ban applies to a range of devices including cell phones, laptops, tablets, and similar devices. Drivers in the Peach State are also prohibited from watching video content or recording or broadcasting videos. However, the ban doesn’t apply to electronic devices that are used solely for continuously broadcasting or recording.

It is also unlawful for drivers to hold or support a cell phone or another electronic device while operating a vehicle. Essentially, drivers are only allowed to use hands-free electronic equipment. If a driver crashes into your vehicle because they were holding a phone and they got distracted, they would be at fault. Your Atlanta auto accident attorney may be able to get their cellphone records to prove this.

Commercial drivers are subject to all these laws. However, they face additional restrictions. They are prohibited from:

  • Reaching for an electronic device in a manner that requires them to no longer be seated or properly restrained
  • Using more than one button on a wireless communication device to start or end voice communication

What the Statistics Say about Distracted Driving

It’s easy for a driver to get distracted. Some accidents caused by distracted driving result in minor damage and injuries. However, some are life-threatening or even deadly. A study by Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute revealed that taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles the risk of a crash.

It is difficult to know exactly how many accidents are due to distracted driving. Investigators often can’t tell the extent to which distraction was a factor. Motorists’ cellphone records are usually only checked when an accident causes death or serious injury. In addition, drivers don’t always admit their role in a crash. 

That being said, there are some statistics available. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,166 people in 2017. These accounted for 8.5 percent of total fatalities for the year. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said around nine people are killed and over 1,000 injured each day in accidents involving a distracted driver. The National Occupant Protection Use Survey also found that teen drivers were most likely to be distracted when fatal crashes occurred. 

Contact The Bethune Law Firm to Discuss Your Case

If you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver or you lost a loved one, you should seek legal advice. At the Bethune Law Firm, we’ll work hard to prove that the other party was responsible for the crash. We’ll do everything possible to help you recover fair compensation for your losses. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with someone from our team of Atlanta car wreck lawyers.

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