As of July 1, 2018, it is illegal to hold a cellphone or personal communication device while driving in Georgia. The new law bans everything from holding an iPod to watching or recording a video on your phone and, of course, texting while driving. The law is meant to curb distracted driving, a leading cause of accidents on Georgia’s highways and roads. In fact, Georgia is listed as the fifth highest state for auto accident fatalities, with 1,549 fatalities occurring in 2017 alone according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. Many statistics show that distracted driving is the third leading cause of all motor vehicle accidents in the state, right after drunk driving and speeding.
Texting and driving—as well as any form of distracted driving—is incredibly dangerous. This type of negligent behavior can lead to serious accidents and life-altering injuries.
Here are 3 things you need to know about texting and driving:
- Federal estimates suggest that distraction contributes to 16% of all fatal crashes, leading to around 5,000 deaths every year.
- Those texting are 23 times more likely to get into an accident.
- 18% of fatalities from distraction-related accidents are caused by cell phones.
If you were hit by another driver who was texting or otherwise distracted at the time of the crash, you are entitled to take legal action. Even if the accident occurred prior to the new law banning texting and driving, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. This is because distracted driving is almost always considered negligent, and you should not have to suffer the consequences of someone else’s negligence on your own.
Call Monge & Associates at (800) 860-8021 or submit an online contact form today.
What Makes Texting & Driving So Dangerous?
Because reading or sending a text is relatively quick, many people feel that they can safely do so while driving. However, any time a driver’s eyes are not on the road, he or she is at a much higher risk of causing an accident. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average amount of time it takes to read a text message is 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, a car travels 100 yards in 4.6 seconds. If a driver glances down at a text while traveling on the highway, he or she will not be looking at the road for the length of one football field—or longer, if he/she is driving faster than 55 mph.
Even when stopped at a red light or stop sign, looking down at a phone causes a driver to physically and mentally stop focusing on the road. Mental distraction can be just as dangerous as physically looking away from the road. According to the NHTSA, a driver that is reading or sending a text message while driving is 23 times more likely to cause an accident than if he or she is focused on the road. A driver that is talking on the phone or using a handheld device is four times more likely to cause an accident.
Additionally, when drivers are not looking at the road and the traffic ahead, they are not only more likely to cause an accident, they are also more likely to cause a very serious crash. This is because, unlike in other types of accidents where the driver often attempts to stop or avoid the accident, the texting driver may not even be aware of an impending accident until the moment of collision. The lack of avoidance tactics leads to accidents at higher speeds and much more severe collisions. The result? Severe, catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
Other Forms of Distracted Driving
While texting and driving is particularly dangerous and illegal, thanks to this summer’s new legislation, it is not the only form of distracted driving.
Other common types of distracted driving include:
- Looking down to change the radio station, music, AC, etc.
- Eating and/or drinking while driving
- “Rubbernecking,” or looking at roadside crashes/incidents
- Turning around to tend to children in the backseat
- Talking to other people in the vehicle
- Daydreaming and general inattention
- Reaching for or using an object in the vehicle
Any time a person makes the choice to be distracted behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, that person is acting negligently. When that negligence injures or kills other people, the distracted driver can and should be held responsible.
Contact Monge & Associates Today
Our firm is committed to fighting for victims of negligence throughout Georgia and the United States. Our Atlanta-based distracted driving lawyers can help you determine your legal rights and options, as well as the best course of action for your unique case. We understand how difficult it can be to move on from a serious accident. Rather than stress about getting medical treatment, missing work, and paying your hospital bills, let our team handle every aspect of your case. We take the time to provide personalized legal services tailored to your needs and goals. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients over the past 25+ years and we are prepared to be the aggressive legal advocate you deserve.
Why choose Monge & Associates? We make good things happen for other people. Call us at (800) 860-8021 or contact us online for free. We come to you.