When you or someone you love gets injured because another person was driving negligently, you deserve compensation. At the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm, our injury and accident attorneys have what it takes to fight for your rights and obtain the maximum damages you are entitled to for your injuries and losses. Call us at (833) 254-2923, or contact us online to set up a free case evaluation.
Driving requires concentration and attention. Sadly, despite the many technological advances and the vast amount of traffic, it is still easy to lose focus and get hurt or kill others. With distracted driving responsible for roughly one in every three car accidents nationwide, there is no denying the importance of keeping your eyes on the road. Unfortunately, while this may seem like common sense, it’s not uncommon to see drivers texting or talking on the phone while they’re driving down the highway.
If you have been involved in an accident that a distracted driver may have caused, you may be eligible to file a claim. While you may not walk away from a car accident unscathed, that doesn’t mean you can’t hold the person or people accountable that was responsible for your injuries. Again, a personal injury attorney can be your best bet in receiving the compensation to which you are entitled.
To begin with, let’s look at the basics of distracted driving.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is the most dangerous of all traffic violations. It’s not difficult to see why. Texting, emailing, or using a smartphone or mobile device for any purpose while you drive significantly increases the chances that you will be involved in an auto accident as a driver or as a passenger.
Using your phone behind the wheel — even though hands-free apps — can lead to considerable charges and penalties if you’re caught. Any task that takes your focus off of the road for more than a few seconds can jeopardize your safety as well as that of other drivers on the road.
Distracted driving laws are in place to protect drivers and the general public because texting while driving impairs a driver’s reaction time and ability to perform other functions behind the wheel.
As per the CDC, distractions are categorized into the following:
Reading or sending an SMS message or surfing the internet on a mobile device while driving will cause a decrease in road safety. It can take you up to five seconds to return your attention to the road when you look away. This distraction increases significantly if the driver starts writing a reply to the text.
Manual distractions are any tasks you can complete while physically holding the wheel, clutch, or gear shift. Driver’s inattention resulting from using a handheld device can easily cause loss of control and result in a collision.
A person’s cognitive state is their mental state or current psychological state. It includes mental activity like thoughts and perceptions organized by the brain. For example, cognitive distractions take the form of daydreaming, thinking ahead to something that hasn’t happened yet, or imagining how a situation will turn out.
Statistics for distracted driving in Georgia
In July 2018, Georgia’s hands-free legislation went into effect, making it illegal for drivers to hold phones while they drive. The following was the condition of the state before that:
- Police officers wrote more than 12,000 tickets to drivers breaking the law.
- A study by TrueMotion found that before the law went into effect, drivers in Georgia were using their phones during almost one in five trips.
- When Georgia started enforcing its hand-free cell phone law, the state saw a massive drop in distracted driving. The total driving time spent on cell phone usage decreased to 15.4%. In addition, a poll conducted by The Constitution found that 45% of respondents always or most of the time follow Georgia’s new driving law, and an additional 40% obeyed it most of the time.
What does the distracted driving law in Georgia constitute?
The law mandates that drivers exercise due care on public roads—distractions like texting while driving is illegal because they endanger motorists and bystanders. The law is specific. Even if they don’t distract you, any actions you take while driving are unlawful if they distract someone else. You can be stopped and penalized for eating, chatting on your cell phone, grooming, reading the newspaper, or anything else that might distract the driver.
According to the law, it is illegal to hold or physically support any smartphone or tablet while driving. However, the law does not prohibit listening to music on headphones, earpieces, or a wrist-worn voice communication device. So, talking to Siri on your iWatch is acceptable, but holding your smartphone with your hand is still not permitted.
Under the law, drivers of motor vehicles may not read, write and send texts and emails while driving. Except for voice-to-text and GPS use for navigation, drivers are banned from engaging in any activity that distracts them from safe driving.
With the exception of watching the data related to navigation, the law also requires drivers to refrain from observing, broadcasting, or recording a video, movie, or attending any video call while driving. In addition, a driver may also be penalized if caught attending a video call while driving.
No matter how you use a connected device, a few rules still apply when you’re behind the wheel:
- Don’t take your hands off the wheel.
- Keep your eyes on the road.
- Pay attention to the traffic around you.
The law also specifies that drivers are limited to one-touch for voice-activated systems. Drivers are expected to press only one button to start or end a call and keep their phone in a position where it doesn’t obstruct their view.
Anyone who violates the above laws commits a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, is subjected to a fine of $50 for the first violation, $100 for the second, and $150 for each additional offense.
Below are some exceptions to the law:
The Hands-Free Georgia Act does not apply to specific drivers and activities. Three of the excluded drivers relate to public safety. Prohibitions on the use of mobile devices while driving do not apply to:
- Any motorist reporting immediate and severe safety or traffic hazards such as an emergency or traffic accident.
- A utility worker who is on the job site and responding to a service-related emergency.
- A law enforcement officer, firefighter, or paramedic during the performance of their official duties.
- Anyone who is seated in a legally parked vehicle.
Distracted driving and personal injury lawsuits
The prevalence of cell phones and other portable devices in cars has led to a rise in distracted driving. From the occasional texting and scrolling through Facebook posts to performing tricky online searches for destinations, people are getting behind the wheel and inadvertently increasing their risk for an accident.
As a result, numerous people in the US have been injured in several ways regarding vehicular accidents that aren’t their fault, and they don’t know where to turn. If this applies to you, you need to know about distracted driving lawsuits and why they’re an ever-increasing issue with severe consequences.
To be awarded a monetary award for damages from a distracted driving accident, the crash victim must have been injured and prove that the other party was at fault. In the unfortunate case of a car accident, there is a legal duty of care, which means the other driver violated their legal obligation to operate a vehicle safely.
When the vehicle driver drove his automobile while using his cell phone, he chose not to pay attention to the road. This is evidence that he chose not to perform his duty of driving safely, which then led to him causing an accident, injuring the victim.
What to do if you’re injured in a distracted driving auto accident?
In the unfortunate event that a distracted driver hits you, get necessary medical attention immediately. Taking photos of the injury and keeping records of your hospital and doctor visits can help document your damages later. In addition, receiving a copy of the accident’s police report will help you prove that you were involved in an auto collision caused by another driver acting negligently.
Here in Georgia, you have a specific period to file a lawsuit. If this expiration date passes, you lose the right to receive compensation. That’s why you must find yourself a qualified attorney who can help you file a personal injury lawsuit.
How can our personal injury attorneys help you?
The Hands-Free Georgia Act serves as a reminder that anyone using a cell phone or other communication device while driving or engaging in other behaviors that make it challenging to keep their full attention on the road puts themselves and others at risk. The Act aims to protect all drivers and pedestrians in Georgia by reducing driving distractions and emphasizing the importance of staying focused behind the wheel.
When you need legal counsel after a distracted driver injures you or takes the life of a loved one, the CEO Lawyer can help. The experienced attorneys at our firm understand the physical and emotional challenges you face. We offer compassionate support while protecting your rights and working to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. Reach us today at (833) 254-2923, or contact us online to schedule a free, confidential consultation with an accomplished Atlanta personal injury attorney.