Traffic Fatalities Continue to Spike Due to Distracted Driving
Forbes reported that in 2020, despite the decrease in traffic on the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic death rates are the highest they have been in 13 years. Compared to 2019, there was a 29% increase in lives lost due to automobile crashes.
Georgia is no exception. According to WTOC 11, there has been an increase in fatal car crashes by 13% in just one year. Seventy percent of fatalities in vehicle accidents are caused by unsafe driving behaviors, and one of the deadliest unsafe behaviors is distracted driving.
Distractions Take Focus Away from the Road
For years, experts have been hopeful that advances in technology would lead to a reduction in the fatal accidents on America’s roadways. Innovations like automatic emergency braking systems and lane departure warnings have made an impact on accident rates as well as the severity of collisions.
However, new technology can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to driver safety. Between the prevalence of smartphones and in-dash infotainment systems, distracted driving is having a more significant impact on collision rates. A 2018 study from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests that fatalities attributed to phone-based distracted driving have increased in recent years.
Mobile phones may be the most obvious cause of distracted driving, but other actions like eating, grooming, smoking and even disciplining children can cause drivers’ attention to turn away from the roadway.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three main types of distractions that drivers fall prey to:
- Visual distractions. These are distractions that take your eyes off the road, like looking at a cell phone or turning to talk to someone in the back seat.
- Manual distractions. Any distractions that cause you to take your hands off the steering wheel are manual distractions.
- Cognitive distractions. These are distractions that cause you to take your mind off of driving. For instance, although hands-free technology for talking on a cell phone is a safer option, conversing can still cause you to be cognitively distracted. Avoid talking on the phone while driving unless it is truly necessary.
Stay Focused When You Drive
Because driving is a day-to-day activity, we sometimes take for granted that we will stay safe on the road. Driving is a life-or-death activity that demands our full attention. We should all do our best to avoid visual, manual and cognitive distractions.
Remember the risk that comes with things like using your phone, eating, using your navigation system or interacting with other passengers as you drive – and choose to refrain from those activities until after you are done driving.
Never text, search the Internet or use apps while on your phone while you are driving. These phone-based activities are visual, manual and cognitive distractions all rolled into one dangerous behavior. As the CDC website points out, “Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph.” Thinking about a driver not paying attention to the road for that long is a scary thought!
If the risk of physical injury is not enough to dissuade someone from distracted driving, some states have laws prohibiting the use of cell phones. For example, in Georgia, it is illegal to hold your phone while driving thanks to the Hands-Free Law.
If You’ve Been in an Accident, Contact Williams Elleby Today
We all have a duty to stay focused on the road and drive with care every time we get behind the wheel. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. The experienced auto accident attorneys at Williams Elleby work tirelessly to get justice for personal injury victims throughout Georgia.
Joel Williams or Chase Elleby can investigate the facts of your case, help you understand your legal rights and options and vigorously pursue justice for you in pre-suit negotiations or court. If you think you have a claim, contact our Georgia personal injury attorneys to schedule your free consultation today at 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542).