Defending Against the Distracted Driver — Warning: It’s Not Just About Texting

Defending Against the Distracted Driver — Warning: It’s Not Just About Texting

It’s Saturday night in Marietta, GA. You’re cruising down the highway, eyes on the road, paying attention to your driving. Unfortunately, the other guy isn’t. Suddenly, another car cuts you off, catching the corner of your bumper and sending you into a tailspin at 55 miles per hour. Moments later, you’re upside down in a ditch, wondering what to do next.

First, call 9-1-1; then, call a personal injury lawyer.

Distracted drivers kill nine people and injure almost 1,200 every single day. Many of these crashes involve drivers using cell phones. In fact, you are four times as likely to be involved in a car accident if you are using a cell phone while driving. Texting is a triple distraction, stealing a driver’s visual, manual, and cognitive attention.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving while texting is six times more dangerous than even driving while intoxicated. But, as a car accident attorney who handles these shattering claims knows all too well, texting is only one of many ways a driver’s attention can be diverted from the road.

Texting Isn’t the Only Distraction

According to the government website, distraction.gov (yes, the problem is so bad, they had to make a website specifically addressing distracted driving), other types of distraction that can cause accidents include:

  • Eating and drinking while driving
  • Talking to passengers
  • Reading
  • Consulting maps
  • Personal grooming
  • Using a navigation system
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
  • Watching videos

Some people even brush their teeth and change their clothes while driving!

Laws Aimed at Distracted Driving

To try to combat this, the state of Georgia has enacted laws specifically aimed at distracted driving. Text messaging while driving has been banned since 2010. Additional revisions included a more general prohibition against distractions:

“A driver shall not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle…”

“While the proper use of a radio, citizens band radio, mobile telephone, or amateur or ham radio does not violate this law, such proper use does not include texting for those over 18, or any type of cell phone use while driving for those under the age of 18.”

Actions which might distract a driver are not specifically spelled out in this law, giving police officers and judges a lot of flexibility in deciding whether a driver did or did not violate the law. If you’re not sure whether distracted driving was a factor in your car wreck, a Marietta personal injury lawyer can look over the facts of your accident to see whether it is an issue in your case.

The Problem is Getting Worse

The Marietta, GA Police Department reports that, since 2011, there has been a 25% decrease in drunk driving, but a 22% increase in distracted driving. And, of course, you might not be driving your car when you meet a distracted driver. Pedestrian deaths are on the increase, and a large part of this trend can be attributed to distracted driving.

Injuries caused by distracted driving accidents can be devastating, resulting in disability, loss of earnings, hospital and other medical bills, and pain and suffering that takes time and enjoyment away from your family. If you are injured by a distracted driver, call a personal injury lawyer in Marietta, GA. You need an experienced car accident attorney who can explain your rights and work with you to recover all the damages the law entitles you to for the injuries you’ve suffered.