Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation have declared April to be National Distracted Driving Month. Police and transportation departments throughout the country will crack down on distracted drivers and promote educational campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.
Why the focus on distracted driving? In 2009, 448,000 injuries and almost 5,550 fatalities were attributed to distracted driving. According NHTSA data, 29 percent of all accidents in 2009 were caused by distracted driving, but some experts believe that driver distraction is responsible for 80% of all accidents. Common driver distractions include:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Browsing the internet
- Changing radio stations
In fact, any activity that keeps a drivers eyes or attention of the road or hands off the wheel qualifies as a distraction and as handheld electronic devices become a bigger part of our lives, distracted driving accidents are increasing. At any time during the day 800,000 drivers are using a cell phone. Thousands of other drivers are operating GPS devices, MP3 players, or Kindles.
In Georgia, it is illegal to use a handheld cell phone, but a hands-free device is allowed. However, research shows that drivers who are on any type of cell phone are more likely to miss the visual and audio cues that could prevent a Georgia car crash. There has been no proof that hands-free devices reduce distracted driving car crashes.
Texting is even more dangerous. A recent study showed that a driver who is texting is just as impaired in his ability to drive as a driver with an alcohol level of 0.08%, the level at which a driver is legally considered too impaired to drive. A driver who is texting is 23 times more likely to be involved in a serious auto accident than a driver who is not.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a driver who was texting or using a cell phone, you have rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, property damage and other losses.
If you have lost a loved one to a distracted driving accident, you may have a Georgia wrongful death claim. For more information, contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith online to request a free consultation with an experienced Gwinnett car accident lawyer or call 770-487-9999.
Learn more about the rights of Georgia accident victims; download a free copy of Mr. Smith's book: "10 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Georgia Wreck Case."