Distracted Driving: Sobering Statistics: While we all understand that we shouldn’t text and drive, it is only when you see the statistics that the true extent of this epidemic becomes clear. According to the National Safety Council, 23 percent of car crashes are caused by so-called distracted drivers, and according to the latest federal data, more than 3,328 people were killed and approximately 421,000 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers nationwide in 2012. Teenagers, parents, seniors, children; the thousands of lives destroyed every year by distracted driving make this a public health crisis that requires immediate, coordinated, focused action.
Georgia Part of National U Drive. U Text. U Pay. Campaign
That’s why Georgia is joining almost 40 other states and the National Highway Safety Administration in the nation’s first coordinated national distracted driving enforcement campaign: U Drive. U Text. U Pay. During April, which is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) is using the U Drive. U Text. U Pay message online and through social media to spread the word about the dangers of texting and driving. In addition, GOHS’s paid media will target adults in the 18-34 age range, focusing on women. A statewide earned media campaign will kick off Distracted Driving Awareness Month in advance of the state’s April 7-15 enforcement period. Finally, GOHS staff has signed a pledge to be an example to both the Georgia motoring public and other state agencies that they will follow state law and not text and drive.
Georgia Distracted Driving Laws
Like most states, Georgia has implemented laws that seek to curb driver distractions. Georgia law bans text messaging for all drivers and all cell phone use for drivers 18 and under. Sadly, however, this has done little to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents.
“The Distracted Brain”
Although texting is the biggest culprit when it comes to driver distractions, simply talking on a cell phone while operating a vehicle is inherently risky. The National Safety Council warns that even hands-free devices make drivers four times as likely to crash.
Although driving is something most of us seem to do on autopilot, driving a vehicle is actually a complicated task that requires a tremendous amount of concentration and motor skill. Research from the National Safety Council shows that drivers who hold cell phone conversations while driving miss half of the information in their environment. When we talk and drive, the distraction impacts three layers of driving.
- Visual. We miss exits, fail to see red lights, and miss out on important details in our visual fields.
- Manual. Even hands-free devices require us to take our hands off the wheel. Fiddling with phone buttons, wires, and power sources compromises our ability to stay in control of the vehicle. Reaction times are slower, leading to more accidents.
- Cognitive. When our brains are inside a conversation, they are less likely to be focused on the task of driving.
Helping Victims of Distracted Drivers
Distracted drivers who cause accidents are liable for the injuries and property damage they cause. As an experienced Georgia personal injury and car accident lawyer, I have seen first-hand the tragic injuries and losses caused by distracted driving and urge all drivers to put down the phone when behind the wheel. If you have been involved in an accident involving a distracted driver, contact me today at (912) 265-9811 for a free, initial consultation to discuss your case.
This article has been prepared by J. Alan Welch Law for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.