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Driver Distracted by Loud Music Hit by Freight Train

January 22, 2011

The number of Atlanta residents who suffer catastrophic injuries and wrongful death at the hands of distracted drivers is growing at an exponential rate. In a strange Associated Press report, a Montana man was hit by a freight train because he was playing music so loud in his car that he apparently did not hear the train approaching or notice the railroad signal.

This fatal train accident highlights an aspect of distracted driving that is fairly common but rarely addressed. Most assume that attentive driving means not allowing one's eyes to be distracted from the road and potential road hazards. However, many serious car accidents can be averted by relying on one's sense of hearing as well as a driver's sense of sight. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing people who suffer serious injuries in Georgia car accidents with distracted drivers for over 39 years.

An approaching train typically is far from silent and is much larger than a passenger car, truck, SUV or even a bus, so these vehicles can collide with a driver who does not hear them approaching much easier than a train. This is especially true because the train that collided with the Montana driver was reportedly moving at a very slow rate of speed. Loud music can disrupt both a driver's focus and his or her ability to hear what is going on around him or her on the road. Sounds from other vehicles can often provide valuable warnings of potential driving hazards, which may provide an opportunity to respond to a hazard earlier and avoid serious car accidents. Common examples of noises that may alert a driver of potential hazards include the following:

• Motor vehicle honking a horn

• Screeching brakes from a car making a sudden stop

• The exploding sound of a tire blowout causing a driver to lose control

• The roar of a motorcycle engine straddling your lane and the adjacent lane

• The acceleration of the engine in a vehicle driven by a speeding or reckless driver

• Sirens of approaching emergency vehicles

In many cases, audible clues may be the only warning a driver receives before a fatal car accident. In other cases, audible evidence of a road hazard may be available before visual clues and provide the extra moment needed to safely avoid a serious car crash.

Not only does loud music make it difficult to hear other potential sounds that may warn of approaching driving hazards, but loud music is itself distracting to drivers and can dominate a driver's awareness so that the driver is not focused on the road. Music that is blaring inside a car can make it difficult to concentrate and focus on the road and the activity of other vehicles. The freight train accident apparently occurred at a railroad signal, and the driver was so distracted by the loud music that he did not hear or see the railroad warning signal. It is easy to understand how this could happen if you consider how often you have witnessed other drivers with loud music playing as they sing along, dance and gesture with the music or bang their hands on the wheel while paying no attention to the traffic around them.

Despite the serious risk to drivers from loud music in a motor vehicle, most of us have frequently felt our car vibrate and pulse from base blaring inside another vehicle. Clearly, music that is loud enough to actually be felt physically by a driver in another vehicles is loud enough to distract the driver playing the music. While music can make a long tedious car ride in Atlanta rush hour traffic more tolerable, it is important that you keep the volume low enough that it does not distract you from potential road hazards. If you or someone you love have suffered serious injury or wrongful death at the hands of a distracted driver, Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, can help you seek compensation for your injuries and damages.

Our Georgia accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24 hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.