Posted on behalf of The Nye Law Group on Apr 05, 2017 in Car Accidents
April has been named Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and law enforcement agencies in every state are doing their part to raise awareness by increasing enforcement efforts to catch distracted drivers. In Georgia, the Georgia State Patrol and other state agencies will be cracking down on this risky behavior all month long.
Raising awareness is an integral part of reducing distracted driving, a widespread problem on our nation's roads that causes numerous auto accidents, resulting in injuries and deaths.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving refers to any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road, this includes the driver's eyes, hands or mental focus.
While texting and driving is the most well-known example of distracted driving, there are many others, including:
Under Georgia Code § 40-6-241.2, it is illegal to write, read or send text messages while driving, including when drivers are stopped at traffic lights or signals. This law took effect on July 1, 2010.
The law also prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using any wireless telecommunications device while driving. This includes cellphones, personal digital assistants and any other small wireless devices.
However, the law allows drivers of all ages to use cellphones and other wireless communication devices for:
The law also does not apply if you are using a telecommunications device in a vehicle that is legally parked.
This is a primary law, so police officers are allowed to pull you over for texting and driving without witnessing another traffic violation. The penalty for violating this code is a $150 fine.
Distracted driving has become a rapidly-growing threat to traffic safety in Georgia and throughout the nation.
Distracted driving caused 5,784 crashes in Georgia in 2006 and 25,215 wrecks last year, according to the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
This behavior is also one of the major culprits in the increase in traffic fatalities in the last two years, according to GHSA Director Harris Blackwood.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that traffic fatalities in Georgia rose 34 percent between 2014 and 2016, the fifth-largest increase in the nation.
Nationally, distracted driving led to 3,179 deaths in 2014 and 3,477 in 2015, a year-over-year increase of almost nine percent. Distracted driving also led to 391,000 injuries last year.
While nearly everyone drives distracted at some point, the practice is entirely preventable. These strategies can help reduce or eliminate distractions:
If you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. The Nye Law Group's personal injury attorneys will work to hold distracted drivers accountable for their actions, while pursuing fair compensation for damages.