Georgia Distracted Driving Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Distracted driving has become a leading cause of auto accident related injuries and fatalities, causing an estimated 448,000 injuries and almost 5,550 traffic related fatalities annually. Distracted driving reportedly caused approximately 29 percent of all auto accidents in the U.S in 2009. Distracted driving statistics are getting worse, not better, with the growing influence of smart phones, iPads, Kindles and other handheld electronic devices.
There are many ways that a driver can become distracted while driving. Driving involves the coordination of your vision and reflexes as well as decision making, so anything that distracts your eyes or mind from the road or causes you to take your hands off of the wheel can be considered a driving distraction. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we represent more and more Georgia auto accident victims whose injuries are linked to inattentive and distracted drivers. We receive so many questions about distracted driving accidents that we have provided this list of some of the most frequently asked questions.
What is distracted driving?
A driver distraction is anything that diverts a driver's full attention and focus from driving safely. There are different types of distractions depending on what skill or faculty the distraction impacts, including:
Visual: These distractions divert a driver's eyes from the road, other drivers, pedestrians and road hazards. Common examples include texting on a cell phone, looking in a mirror to apply makeup or reading a book.
Manual: This type of distraction involves using one's hands for things other than controlling the steering wheel, such as lighting a cigarette, adjusting the car radio, eating or drinking, applying makeup or rummaging through the glove compartment.
Cognitive: These are essentially mental distractions that divert a driver's mental focus and concentration from one's driving. Common examples include talking to a passenger or talking on a cell phone
Why is the distracted driver problem getting worse?
Simply put, there has been an explosion of portable electronic devices that people use incessantly whether driving or not. Mobile phones have become "do everything devices," enabling users to talk, text, surf the web, listen to loud music, watch videos, play games and more. At any time during the daytime, approximately 800,000 drivers are using their mobile phone. Devices typically used by drivers while operating a motor vehicle are cell phones, portable media players, PDAs, Kindles and GPS devices
If I am just talking with a passenger, I assume there is no real risk?
There are some studies that indicating carrying on a conversation with an occupant of your vehicle is just as distracting as talking or texting while driving though there is conflicting evidence. However, a passenger can monitor the road along with the driver and warn of potential hazards or allow a break in the conversation when noticing a hazard, unlike someone on the other end of a mobile phone conversation. Studies also indicate that the probability of a car accident increases when two or more teenagers are talking in a car.
Does using a hands-free device when talking on a cell phone reduce the risks associated with distracted driving?
Some states have passed laws taking this middle ground approach between banning cell phone conversations while driving and allowing them entirely. The available research indicates that ANY mobile phone use while driving reduces a driver's performance. A driver who is talking on the phone even with a hands-free device is more likely to miss key visual and audio cues, which might avert a car crash. Hand-held devices may be an improvement, but the data does not suggest that this approach significantly reduced distracted driving accident risks.
Should I use my cell phone to call for emergency services?
It is always advisable to move out of the roadway and stop your vehicle before using your mobile phone even in an emergency situation. However, you must balance the risks associated with delaying the call until you can stop your vehicle in a safe place against the urgency of the emergency and potential harm caused by any delay.
Are there Georgia laws aimed at curbing distracted driving?
Like other states, Georgia has enacted laws banning certain type of mobile phone related distractions. Georgia law prohibits novice drivers from using their cell phone for talking or texting. Georgia law also prohibits drivers of any age from texting while driving and imposes a fine on anyone who violates the law. To learn more about the Georgia Laws that ban texting and driving, watch this two minute news segment featuring Montlick & Associate's Family Safety Advocate, Jacquie Palisi: "Texting While Driving is a Dangerous Practice.... and Against the Law!
What are common types of distracted driving practices?
Common distracted driving activities include the following:
- Adjusting the car stereo
- Reading a newspaper, book, magazine or E-Book device
- Putting on make up, shaving or brushing one's hair
- Engaging in a cell phone conversation
- Blasting loud music in the vehicle
- Surfing the internet or checking email on a hand-held portable electronic device
- Playing games or uploading picture on a mobile device
- Entering information into a GPS device
- Sending, receiving or reading text messages
- Reaching for an object on the seat, floor or glove compartment
- Looking at an object or event outside of the vehicle.
- Carrying on a conversation with another vehicle occupant
Is texting whiling driving really that dangerous?
One recent study showed that texting while driving reduces a driver's attention level to that of a person with an alcohol level of 0.08%, which is the level at which one is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol. Drivers who compose and send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a serious auto accident. Other studies have found that texting while driving results in slower braking reaction times than the braking reaction times of drunk drivers.
Distracted driving has become an epidemic resulting in life-changing injuries for many distracted driving car accident victims. Tragically, distracted driving accidents are entirely avoidable if drivers simply focus all of their mental, visual and physical attention on their driving. If you have been injured or someone you love has suffered wrongful death in a collision with a distracted driver, Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, will represent you in seeking the legal compensation to which you are entitled. We have been representing those who suffer catastrophic injuries or death in Georgia auto accidents with distracted drivers for over 37 years.
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Our experienced Georgia distracted driver auto accident lawyers 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 www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.