April is Distracted Driving Awareness month. It is a time to bring attention to the dangers of trying to multi-task while behind the wheel. When people hear “distracted driving,” many think of talking on the phone or texting. But, in fact, cell phones are not the only things pulling our attention from the road.
Distracted Driving Defined: “Distracted Driving” is any activity that diverts attention from driving. These distractions can be visual (taking eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the steering wheel), or cognitive (taking your mind off the process of driving). Using your cell phone while driving is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving, because it occupies the motorist’s eyes, hands, and concentration (Source: distraction.gov). Some other examples of distracted driving are: eating, drinking, grooming, talking to the other passengers in the vehicle, adjusting the stereo, or programming the navigation system.
Georgia’s Distracted Driving Laws: Many states have introduced legislation to help raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, and hopefully, prevent this type of behavior. Georgia has a number of laws related to cell phones. Drivers who are 17-years-old or younger are banned from using a cell phone while driving. Also, school bus drivers cannot use a cell phone while loading/unloading passengers, or while the bus is in motion. Georgia has made texting while driving illegal – no matter the driver’s age or profession.
Under Georgia law O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241, “A driver shall exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on the highways… and shall not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle.” Exceptions to this law include “the proper use of a radio, citizens band radio, mobile telephone, or amateur or ham radio…” If a Georgia driver violates this law, they can be charged with distracted driving (in addition to the traffic violation), and potentially face civil liability for any injuries caused.
Other Distracted Driving Statistics: During Distracted Driving Awareness month, it is important to highlight just how dangerous this type of driving behavior can be. Here are a few statistics:
- During daylight hours, approximately 660,000 drivers are using their cell phone while driving. (Source: distraction.gov)
- Texting distracts drivers for longer periods of time than other activities. If a driver is traveling 55mph, for the time it takes them to send a text message, they will have traveled the distance of a football field. (Source: distraction.gov)
- Drivers 20-years-old and younger have the highest number of fatal collisions due to distracted driving. (Source: CDC)
- Every day in the U.S., more than eight people are killed and 1,600 are injured in collisions involving a distracted driver. (Source: CDC)
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a collision as a result of distracted driving, call The Gore Law Firm at (404) 436-1529 to schedule a free consultation.