Distracted Driving: Not Just for Cell Phones

A man driving a carYou have probably heard about Georgia’s new “hands-free” law that took effect on July 1, 2018. The law prohibits having your phone in your hand or touching any part of your body while talking on the phone. The law also prohibits drivers from sending, writing, or reading texts and watching or recording any video content. First-time offenders face a $50.00 fine and one point on their license, with increasing penalties for repeat offenders.

The CDC reports that approximately 390,000 people are injured per year in accidents caused by distracted driving. While cell phones do cause many drivers to become distracted, it’s important to remember that there are other sources of distraction that are very common. Putting away your phone is a good place to start, but safe driving means eliminating as many distractions as possible.

Three Ways to Get Distracted

The CDC groups distractions into three different categories:

  1. Visual – taking your eyes off of the road
  2. Manual – taking your hands off of the steering wheel
  3. Cognitive – failing to pay full attention while driving

While many distractions may involve all three categories, this breakdown helps remind us of the various ways we can allow ourselves to become distracted while driving.

Eating and Drinking While Driving

People are perhaps busier than ever, and as a result, many of us are eating a meal while we’re in the car – coffee and a bagel on the way to work, or maybe we hit the drive-thru for lunch. Despite the fact that it’s so common, it’s important to remember that it can cause a serious distraction. Eating in your car often results in taking your hands off the wheel and your eyes off of the road.

Dealing with Children and Pets

It’s no secret that small children don’t enjoy spending time in the car. Getting them in the car seat and buckled keeps them safe, but they can still demand a great deal of your attention. Reaching back to hand them toys, books, or food can result in an accident. If they are really upset and crying, the noise can also limit your ability to pay attention to the road. Don’t hesitate to pull off the road to get your children what they need or just to take a break.

If you drive with pets, make sure your pet is secured in a way that they aren’t keeping you from driving safely.

Adjusting the Radio or Other Controls

Before there were smartphones, there was the radio. Taking your eyes off of the road and hands off the wheel to change the station or find a CD can lead to an accident. And with the proliferation of controls that improve our driving experience, keep in mind that adjusting the A/C can also lead to distraction.  

Distracted Driving is Negligent Driving

A driver is negligent when they fail to drive with the necessary care to drive safely. When someone fails to keep their eyes, hands, and attention on the road in order to avoid accidents, they are not driving with enough care to avoid an accident.

Contact a Georgia Accident Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by distracted driving, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Established in 1992, the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have decades of experience in helping Georgians get back on their feet. If you’d like to see how we can help, contact us at 404-255-6677 or send us an email to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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