The Valdosta Daily Times reports that traffic fatalities in Georgia have risen sharply in recent years and a major culprit is distracted driving. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, there were 1,514 traffic fatalities in Georgia in 2018. 70% of fatalities in crashes are caused by unsafe driving behaviors and one of the deadliest unsafe behaviors is distracted driving.

For years, experts have been hopeful that advances in technology will 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 in accident rates as well as the severity of collisions. But in many ways, 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. The Virginia drivers observed during the “2018 IIHS roadside survey were 57% more likely to be manipulating a cellphone than drivers in a 2014 survey.”

Mobile phones may be the most obvious cause of distracted driving but there are other things such as eating, grooming, smoking, and even disciplining children that can cause our 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:

1. 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.

2. Manual distractions. Any distractions that cause you to take your hands off of the steering wheel are manual distractions.

3. 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, use 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.

If You’ve Been in an Accident, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC 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 Joel Williams Law 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, develop an effective legal argument on your behalf, 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 (404) 389-1035.