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The Rise of Distracted Driving Accidents in Georgia

By Ramsey Prather on August 10, 2023

Woman driving a car with one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding her phone.

Distracted driving kills. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 3522 Americans lost their lives in a recent year due to accidents where at least one of the drivers was distracted.

Using a handheld device for texting, talking, and other activities is a major cause of distracted driving. In 2018, the State of Georgia passed a law prohibiting handheld devices while driving, and law enforcement officials have been aggressively enforcing the law.

The number of drivers cited for distracted driving in Georgia peaked in 2019, but it’s still a serious issue, and eight percent of fatal car crashes involve a distracted driver. Increased public awareness and changes in driver behavior are required to combat this serious issue.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from the road. Nine people die every day from accidents caused by distracted driving. Drivers and their passengers aren’t the only people harmed by distracted driving. According to Forbes Magazine, 587 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in distracted driving-related accidents in 2020.

With the rise of cell phones, there has been a lot of attention directed to how these devices influence the number of accidents caused by distracted driving. While smartphones certainly play a large role in the recent upsurge in distracted driving injuries and fatalities, it’s important to remember that various types of unsafe behavior lead to driver distraction.

Frequent causes of distracted driving accidents include:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Smoking
  • Changing the radio
  • Daydreaming
  • Reaching for objects inside the cabin
  • Grooming and personal hygiene
  • Looking at an object or person outside the vehicle
  • Talking with passengers
  • Adjusting devices inside the vehicle
  • Using a navigation system such as GPS
  • Dealing with pets and children

Georgia’s Hands-Free Law

When Governor Nathan Deal signed the Hands-Free Georgia Act on May 2, 2018, Georgia joined a growing number of states that ban the use of handheld devices while driving. Drivers are still permitted to use their cell phones, but touching a cell phone while driving is completely forbidden.

The law carries the following penalties:

  • First offense – $50 fine and one point against your driver’s license
  • Second offense– $100 fine and two points against your driver’s license
  • Third offense– $150 fine and three points against your driver’s license

When drivers are allowed to use handheld devices, they are tempted to engage in various types of unsafe behavior, including:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Playing video games
  • Checking email messages
  • Streaming videos and watching TikTok
  • Checking or posting on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

The Three Types of Distracted Driving

It only takes an instant of inattention to cause a serious accident. Drivers never know when traffic conditions will change or when a hazard may suddenly appear. That’s why drivers must remain totally focused on the road ahead of them at all times. The three major types of distractions that cause accidents are:

  • Visual distractions include anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road, such as a billboard, an event or activity occurring on the side of the road, or even when the driver takes a moment to look at someone or something inside the vehicle.
  • Manual distractions take the driver’s hands off the wheel, slowing down their reaction time should an emergency arise. This includes drinking a beverage, grabbing an object, or manipulating the dashboard.
  • Cognitive distractions include anything that takes the driver’s mind away from the important task of operating a motor vehicle. Drivers are most susceptible to distraction when they are overcome by emotions.

Are You Suffering From Severe Injuries Caused by a Distracted Driver?

The experienced Savannah distracted driving accident attorneys at Butler Prather LLP will file a claim or a lawsuit against anyone whose careless actions contributed to your injuries. For over 35 years, our personal injury lawyers have been getting justice for accident victims.

We’ve won hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for clients in over 30 states. Our Georgia personal injury lawyers have won nine verdicts that exceed $100 million and more than 60 verdicts and settlements of over $10 million.

Call us at (706) 322-1990 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

I was in a complex premises liability case involving a multinational corporations. Mr. Butler & his associates were always three steps ahead of these defendants. When they say they are "exceptional trial lawyers," this is not just a slogan but it is a way of life.”
- Zack Hendon