Reports indicate that drivers in the Atlanta area waste an average of 70 hours per year sitting in traffic. While a congested commute is an accepted part of the day for many people, most drivers do whatever they can to avoid simply wasting time stuck in traffic. For this reason, far too many drivers multitask behind the wheel, using driving time to accomplish other tasks such as checking email, catching up on news, and texting.
Driving in congested traffic is not the only time drivers multitask. Many drivers engage in other activities almost continuously while on the road. All of these activities can be extremely dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about 391,000 people sustained injuries and 3,477 people died in distracted driving crashes in a single year in the U.S.—so many that distracted driving is now considered to be a public health crisis!
Distracted drivers cause serious car accidents on a regular basis, leaving many people facing recovery from life-altering injuries that could—and should—have been prevented simply by the driver remaining properly focused on the road. Victims of distracted driving accidents have important legal rights, including the right to significant compensation for their injuries and losses. If you’ve suffered injuries from someone’s distracted driving, you need the right attorney to represent you and handle your claim, while you focus on your recovery. Call Hasner Law to speak with an experienced attorney at 678-888-4878 or contact us online as soon as possible.
Smartphones and Distracted Driving
One explanation for the sharp increase in distracted driving is the rise of smartphones and other handheld mobile electronic devices. These devices have led to a culture of instant communication—people expect others to read information and respond almost immediately. This leads people to feel pressure to stay constantly connected, even while driving.
Like most states, Georgia has taken steps to try to curb the distracted driving epidemic spurred by smartphones. Georgia law bans any type of text-based communication for all drivers, which includes reading or typing:
- Text messages
- Social media communications
- Instant messages
Unfortunately, many drivers simply ignore this ban and proceed to read or send messages while driving. Researchers estimate that looking down to read or send a text on the highway allows a driver to travel the length of a football field without looking at the road. Most people would never agree to drive across a football field blindfolded, so why do they continue to look away from the road to text?
Texting is not the only distracting activity encouraged by smartphones. Looking up maps, phone numbers, and other information on the internet; entering locations for directions; browsing social media, and even just talking on the phone all significantly distract drivers. Currently, Georgia bans all handheld cell phone use for novice drivers. Legislators have been trying to pass a law requiring hands-free communications for all drivers, as several other states have done. However, the National Safety Council has reported that using hands-free technology also distracts drivers—and may actually increase safety risks. In fact, new studies conclude that voice-to-texting distracts drivers even more than texting by hand.
Other Common Driving Distractions
Many factors other than smartphones and handheld technology cause distracted driving in the Atlanta area. Many drivers do not realize how much these common activities distract them. Some of these include:
- Looking in the mirror or personal grooming
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reaching for objects in another area of the car
- Tending to or checking on children sitting in the back seat
- Listening to audiobooks or podcasts
Distractions can be visual, manual, cognitive, or a combination of the three. Any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands from the wheel, or your focus from the road can distract you from driving and can cause accidents and serious injuries to others.
For example, when a child starts crying in the back seat, many parents automatically reach into a bag on the passenger seat, retrieve a pacifier or toy, and hand it to the child in the back seat. However, each step of this process distracts the parent from driving and can cause an accident.
Holding Distracted Drivers Liable for Your Injuries and Losses
Distracted drivers may not notice a vehicle in front of them, may depart from their lane, or may make other preventable mistakes that lead them to collide with another car. These collisions can cause serious injury-related losses for victims, including:
- Medical expenses
- Costs of future medical care
- Lost income
- Future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent injuries
If you can show that a negligent distracted driver caused your accident, the law holds that driver legally responsible for all of your losses. Proving distracted driving can be challenging and may require diligent investigation to gather evidence and the help of an expert experienced in such cases. As a result, it is important to enlist the help of a skilled personal injury attorney who understands the evidence needed in your case to establish distracted driving and recover for your injuries.
In addition, accident victims can file insurance claims against the distracted driver’s insurer, or file a personal injury claim in court. In either situation, the process can be challenging, with the other party typically trying to avoid liability every step of the way. The right attorney can handle every step of your case to ensure complete protection of your rights as an accident victim and compensation for your injuries and losses, while you stay focused on recovery.
Consult With an Atlanta Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Today
Although compensation cannot turn back time and eliminate your injuries or struggles, financial recovery can help you cover your bills and move forward with your life successfully and as quickly as possible. The legal team at Hasner Law will be on your side and will fight for the full amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. We make the recovery process as stress-free as possible for our clients. If you have suffered injuries or losses in an accident, don’t hesitate to call 678-888-4878 or contact us online for your free initial consultation today.