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Distracted driving in Georgia - it's not just about texting

Since July, 2010, texting while driving has been illegal while driving a motor vehicle in Georgia. The National Safety Counsel reports that 25 percent of car accidents on American roads are now directly caused by texting and driving, surpassing DUI as the leading cause of motor vehicle wrecks.

Texting while driving may be the face of the problem, but drivers in Georgia and across the country are becoming more distracted every year. This blog post will examine some of the statistics.

First, the statistics about texting while driving

Even with states passing strict laws against texting and driving, the numbers keep getting harder to read.

One quarter of all auto wrecks in the U.S. are attributed to texting while driving. That is 1.6 crashes each year attributed to cell phone use by the drivers, resulting in 330,000 injuries or fatalities, including 11 teenage driver or passenger deaths everyday.

While any use of a cellphone greatly increases the likelihood of the driver taking his or her eyes off the road, studies have proven that texting is the most dangerous. An average text distracts the driver's eyes for five seconds, meaning that a car traveling 55 mph will travel the length of a football field. It is no wonder that nearly 95 percent of drivers support a total ban on texting behind the wheel, and nearly three-quarters of us want cellphone use of any kind banned.

But it's not just texting

But it is a mistake to think that texting or talking on the cell phone is the only distraction. The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety reports that the distractions increase every year, both inside the car and outside the windows.

New onboard technology has increased the options for drivers to tweak temperature controls, sound levels and even video systems. Every additional button is another opportunity to take the driver's eyes off the road.

Statistics on other notable distractions leading to an increase in accidents on Georgia roads include:

  • Reaching into the back seat to retrieve or move an object will increase the risk of a crash by nine times.
  • Prolonged viewing of an object alongside the road will increase crash risk more than 3.5 times.
  • Reading while driving will increase a driver's crash risk by a level of three.
  • Drowsiness will make it four times more likely to crash.

Distracted driving in Georgia is everyone's problem

As distractions increase every year, every driver and passenger on the road is put in more danger. Georgia has strict criminal laws against some types of distracted driving. We turn to our civil courts to control the problem as best we can through personal injury lawsuits.

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in northwest Georgia, talk to an attorney at Gammon, Anderson & McFall in Cedartown.

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