Distracted Driving: A Sobering Reminder

You may have seen the news that a 4-year-old little girl was killed in August due to distracted driving. The little girl, the granddaughter of a Paulding County Sheriff’s Officer, was killed by a truck driver who admitted he was distracted at the time of the accident. According to the driver, he rear-ended the victim’s vehicle when he bent down to pick up a bottle and his phone that had fallen on the floor of the truck. Although tragic, this accident serves as an important reminder in two ways: (1) that distracted driving can lead to very serious accidents and even death; and (2) that distracted driving includes much more than just cell phones.  

The Statistics

The CDC has reported that every day, 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes caused by distracted driving. While the data is only available through 2015, the statistics provided by the CDC paint a startling picture:  

  • 3,477 people were killed in accidents caused by distracted driving in 2015;
  • 391,000 people were injured in accidents caused by distracted driving in that same year.

Interestingly, these numbers have remained fairly constant from 2010 through 2015, suggesting that the statistics are likely the same for 2016 through 2018.  

Types of Distracted Driving

The CDC categorizes distracted driving into three separate types:  

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel or otherwise making yourself physically unable to safely operate the vehicle;
  3. Cognitive: failing to pay attention or taking your mind off of operating the vehicle.

When you talk about distracted driving, most people immediately think of cell phones. Cell phones are the number one cause of distracted driving for good reason – they combine all three types of distraction: you are looking at your phone, you have at least one hand off of the steering wheel, and you’re not thinking about driving the car. However, there are many other variations of distracted driving, all potentially just as dangerous:  

  • Talking to passengers
  • Not looking at the road (“rubbernecking”)
  • Adjusting the car stereo or other controls and devices (including GPS units)
  • Dealing with kids or pets

Some of these distractions may seem almost impossible to avoid. For example, talking to passengers or dealing with your kids. Regardless, it’s important to keep in mind that these things, however important or unavoidable, keep you from giving the road your full attention.  

Distracted Driving May Be Negligence

If someone causes an accident because they were driving while distracted, this may be considered negligence. Negligence is defined as “acting or failing to act with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” When someone is negligent, they may be held liable for the victim’s damages.   

Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a car accident because someone else was distracted while driving, you may be entitled to compensation. All drivers are expected to avoid distraction, and there are even laws designed to encourage drivers to pay full time and attention while driving.  

The lawyers at Slappey & Sadd have been helping accident victims across the state of Georgia since 1992, and we can help you with your case. Call us at 404-255-6677 or send us an email to schedule a free consultation.

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