Distracted driving can cause an accident by taking a driver’s full attention off the road. Almost anything can become a distraction under the wrong circumstances. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three primary ways that distractions can occur and cause an accident:
- Visual distractions take a driver’s eyes off the road and prevent him from seeing accident hazards.
- Manual distractions require a driver to take her hands off the steering wheel, which can prevent her from following traffic laws and endanger her and other drivers.
- Cognitive distractions take the driver’s mind off the road, make it difficult to focus on driving, and can cause poor judgment.
Types of Driving Distractions
As you can probably imagine, drivers must constantly avoid numerous distractions. Not only receiving an incoming text, but reaching to pick up a dropped item or thinking about a stressful day at work are distractions. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), driving distractions include:
- Texting or typing other messages
- Talking on your cell phone
- Eating or drinking
- Dealing with children
- Minding pets in the vehicle
- Conversations with others in the car
- Changing the radio station or otherwise controlling the stereo
- Setting the navigation system
- Using your cell phone for social media, music, or any other purpose.
Anything else that takes your eyes or mind off the road, or your hands from the wheel, is a distraction. Although it can be difficult to avoid all distractions, it is imperative that a driver do her best to focus on the road at all times while driving. This may mean waiting to drive if you are upset or stressed out.
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Distracted Driving Laws in Georgia
Although no one questions whether distracted driving can cause an accident, different states have taken different approaches to address the rise in distracted driving since smartphones, texting, and social media have become ubiquitous. Many states had distracted driving laws in some form or another before cell phones, but they were not robust enough to control the widespread problem of texting and driving.
In recent years, many states have passed laws that make it a primary offense to text and drive, and some have included all types of cell phone use. In Georgia, a “hands-free” law has been in effect since 2018. The Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) outlines this law, which prohibits drivers in the state from:
- Holding or supporting any electronic communications device with their hand or another body part
- Reading, writing, or sending any type of written communication such as texts, emails, or social media updates
- Watching or recording video with a cell phone or other hand-held device.
Drivers who need to make a phone call can use voice commands or dial before they begin driving and use a hands-free option such as Bluetooth. Voice-to-text messages that do not require touching the phone may also be allowed.
Building a Case to Hold a Distracted Driver Responsible
If a distracted driver caused your Georgia car accident, you may have a case to hold the distracted driver accountable and recover compensation for the damages and injuries you suffered. This could include medical care, car repairs, lost wages, related expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
In some cases, we also pursue additional compensation for families who lost a loved one to their accident injuries. Only certain family members qualify. The rules for wrongful death actions are outlined in Official Code of Georgia Annotated §51-4-2.
We believe it is important for accident victims to recover a fair financial award or settlement. You should not have to shoulder the financial burden of an accident that occurred due to someone else’s negligence. Instead, the negligent party, in this case, a distracted driver, should be responsible.
We can often reach out-of-court settlements in these cases, but if we need to take your accident case to trial, Georgia gives us two years to file the paperwork under OCGA § 9-3-33.
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Speak to a Member of the Bader Scott Injury Lawyers Team Today
If you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, the team from Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can evaluate your case today for free. If we determine that you have legal standing to file an auto insurance liability claim or lawsuit, we will accept your case and represent you based on contingent fees. You will not need to pay us for your representation directly. We take our fee from the award or settlement we recover in your case.
Call (404) 888-8888 now to get started right away.