Cellphone use and texting while driving have gotten a great deal of media attention in Georgia and around the country recently, and for good reason: Texting while driving increases the risk of accidents by a factor of 23, according to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and the risky habit has grown alarmingly widespread in recent years. But while cellphones remain a growing threat on Georgia roads, they are far from the only source of dangerous distractions for drivers.
Georgia Distracted Driving Law
Along with using cellphones and other mobile devices to text, chat, talk or surf the Internet from behind the wheel, Georgia law defines distracted driving as any activity that distracts a driver from the safe operation of a vehicle. Among other things, this includes:
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the stereo
- Talking to passengers
- Reading a map or using a navigation system
- Watching a video
Distracting activities may occupy a driver’s eyes, hands, concentration or any combination of the three. Texting while driving is a particularly dangerous form of distracted driving because it involves all three forms of distraction at the same time.
When a Georgia driver violates a traffic law while engaged in a distracting behavior, he or she can be charged with distracted driving in addition to the underlying traffic violation.
Distracted Driving Statistics
Distracted driving was a factor in nearly 10 percent of all fatal traffic accidents in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The number was nearly double for nonfatal accidents involving injuries, with 18 percent attributed in whole or in part to distracted driving. In terms of actual numbers, this translates to 3,092 deaths and 416,000 injuries caused by distracted driving accidents in a single year. Of those, cellphone use was a factor in 13 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
Distracted Drivers May Be Liable for Injuries
In addition to the risk of distracted driving charges, people who cause distracted driving accidents in Georgia can face civil liability for any injuries they may cause. People injured by distracted drivers in Georgia may be able to receive financial compensation for their injuries, medical expenses and other losses they experience as a result of the accident. For more information about seeking compensation after a distracted driving accident in Georgia, contact a personal injury lawyer with a background in seeking compensation for people injured in traffic accidents.