According to 2022 statistics, distracted driving causes more than 400,000 injuries in the U.S. every year. Distracted driving is a threat to all road users. Almost 80% of all motorists admit to indulging in some distraction while driving. Since distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents across the nation, each state has enforced specific laws to prevent drivers from being distracted on the road.
The state of Georgia imposes a hands-free law to prohibit them from losing focus on driving. Unfortunately, despite the authorities’ best efforts, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents. Suppose you suffered an injury or property damage in a distracted driving accident. In that case, you are welcome to contact our Augusta personal injury lawyer at T. Madden & Associates, P.C. We can get you justice by getting you maximum compensation for your suffering.
What is Distracted Driving?
Generally, distracted driving is any activity performed behind the wheel that can interfere with the driver’s ability to pay attention to the road. If someone causes a car accident because they were distracted while driving, they could face drastic consequences, including injuries, property damage, fines, and penalties. Here are some of the most common causes of distracted driving:
Being Lost in Thought
Being lost in thought may not sound bad, but it can have devastating consequences for a driver. Unfortunately, it is not as uncommon and can happen to any driver. About 61% of distracted driving accidents result when a driver is daydreaming. Typically, drivers on long or monotonous trips often get lost in thought on the road. It can be challenging to prove a driver was daydreaming at the time of the accident; however, an experienced lawyer can prove that through cross-examination of the driver.
Using a Cellphone
56% of road accidents in Georgia in 2019 were caused by distracted driving. Cell phones have become a necessity in our daily lives, but using them behind the wheel can be life-threatening. Hands-free cell phone use is just as hazardous because it takes the driver’s focus off the road. In many states, interstate truck drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving to limit the risk of collisions. The 2016 study by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) states that 94-96% of all car accidents in the U.S. are a consequence of human error.
Indulging In Intense Conversation
While conversing inside the vehicle is not prohibited anywhere, arguing or having an intense conversation can trigger emotions that take the focus away from driving. Therefore, to keep yourself and other motorists safe, it is best to refrain from conversing about things that demand significant attention while driving.
Reaching for Something Dropped In the Vehicle
Sometimes a driver may bend down to pick up a dropped object inside the vehicle, such as a water bottle or cell phone. That minor distraction can have severe consequences, so it is best to park the car to pick up the object and then proceed with driving.
Using the Navigation System or Stereo
Using or adjusting the vehicle’s navigation system or audio controls is one of the leading causes of distracted driving accidents across the nation. Averting your eyes for even a moment on a busy road can lead to drastic consequences.
According to recent research reports, about 80% of all car accidents occur because drivers focus more on eating than on the road. Eating while driving can be hazardous, so you should take a break from driving to finish eating or drinking and then proceed with driving.
Georgia Law Addresses Distracted Driving
In Georgia, any activity preventing a driver from operating their vehicle safely is considered distracted driving. The law prohibits individuals from reading, writing, and using cell phones for calling, texting, or recording. School bus drivers are strictly prohibited from using even hands-free cell phones.
There are exceptions to the hands-free law in Georgia, such as dashboard and GPS use and permission for first responders and law enforcement agencies to use cell phones on duty. Music streaming apps on the vehicle’s audio system and the use of radio are permitted.
If a person is convicted of distracted driving, the fine is $50 for the first conviction, with one point added to their driver’s license. The fines and points penalty will be more on the second and third convictions. If a distracted driving accident results in severe injuries to another person or death, the court holds the authority to increase the penalties and suspend the driver’s license.
Statute of Limitations
Being injured in an auto accident makes you eligible to file a claim or sue the driver responsible for causing the injuries. In Georgia, an individual injured in a crash must file a lawsuit two years from the day of the accident. If they do not file a claim within that timeline, they can be unable to receive any compensation once the statute of limitations runs out.
Contact a Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
It is unlikely that a driver would directly admit to the police that they were distracted and caused an accident, making it more difficult to prove liability in a distracted driving accident. However, if you hire an attorney, they could use their legal expertise to obtain sufficient evidence that proves the driver’s negligence and support your claim. When your attorney gathers evidence to create a strong case and serves it in court, it increases your chances of getting a favorable verdict.