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Distracted Driving on the Rise

Distracted driving is a huge problem in Georgia. Governor Nathan Deal has signed House Bill 673, which will take effect on July 1, 2018.  This will require drivers to use technology that is hands-free in regards to cell phones and other electronic devices.

Picture this: You are on your way to work and waiting at a stoplight.  The light turns green and as you are getting ready to move forward, your body is suddenly jerked into your steering wheel. You hear the metal crashing as another car collides with your car.  Disorientation is your current state of mind. You look around. The person in the other car comes out, with a cell phone in hand. They say that they did not realize the light was red. Maybe they mention that they were on their phone. Maybe they don’t but it’s implied.

Unfortunately, this is a typical scenario. Distracted driving is on the rise and accidents caused by distracted driving can have unique legal implications. Many states are outlawing the use of electronic devices. Being caught on your phone can result in tickets or even criminal penalties if an accident is caused.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is when a person drives a motor vehicle while doing something else, like texting or talking on the phone. Those are the most common activities associated with distracted driving. However, eating, applying makeup and engaging in any other activities that require the driver to split their attention may also be considered distracted driving activities.

Why is distracted driving a problem?

When a person drives, they have to pay attention to the road. They need to be aware of everything that is going on around them.  They need to make sure that other drivers are following traffic safety rules, construction and traffic signals. Drivers need to be ready to react quickly to other drivers who may be entering their space in a dangerous way.  If a driver is distracted, they may not notice the imminent at all. If they do, they may not notice early enough to react. They may find themselves in an accident which can cause lasting injuries, even death.

According to AJC, in 2016 more than 1,500 people died in motor vehicle accidents in Georgia.  The main three causes of these accidents in the state are speed, alcohol, and distracted driving.

How can we prevent distracted driving?

Preventing this is actually quite simple. First, make sure to make enough time between trips to ensure that you will have time to get to your destination. Rushing tends to lead to multitasking behind the wheel or not paying attention because the focus is on the clock and not on safety. Second, try to refrain from activities while driving, such as eating. Lastly, do not text and drive.  While technology has helped improve our productivity immensely, it is important to remember that cell phones are not meant to be used while driving. There is no text message worth losing your life over.

At Virguez & Associates, we specialize in cases where distracted driving is the cause of an accident.  If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a distracted driver, contact us today at 678-398-4611 for a consultation on your rights.

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