What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is anything that takes our attention away from the road while driving. There are 3 main types of distractions while driving: 1) Visual-taking your eyes off the road; 2) Manual – taking your hands off the wheel; and 3) Cognitive-taking your mind off driving.
According to the CDC, about 3,000 people die in crashes involving a distracted driver every year. That’s over 8 people per day. In 2019, distracted driving accidents killed 3,142 people – a 10% increase from 2018.
When we think about distracted driving accidents, we usually think of texting and driving, but there are other ways we can get distracted while behind the wheel:
Other Types of Distracted Driving:
- Holding a phone and talking
- Eating or reaching for something while driving
- Watching movies or streaming video
- Adjusting the radio, or a device that’s streaming music
- Scrolling through apps or taking pictures
- Sending or reading email
- Tending to children in the backseat of the car
- Using a navigation system
- Grooming – putting on makeup or combing your hair
Georgia Law on Distracted Driving
On July 1, 2018, the Hands-Free Georgia Act took effect, which makes it illegal to perform the following activities while driving in Georgia:
- Hold a phone or have it touching any part of your body while talking and driving. Instead, you can only talk via speakerphone, earpiece, wireless headphones, car Bluetooth system, or smart watch.
- Read, write, or send text messages or emails (can voice to text if it is hands-free).
- Record or watch videos (Navigational/GPS videos such as google maps and continuously running dash cams are allowed).
- Read or post to social media or any other internet data.
- Use headsets or earpieces to listen to music or other entertainment. Drivers can stream music through their car radio but are not allowed to touch a phone to make changes or activate apps.
If a driver must engage in one of these activities, they can only do so while legally stopped. A driver is not allowed to do so if stopped for a traffic signal or at a stop sign on the public roadway, as this is not considered being legally stopped for these purposes.
Drivers should think carefully about the potential consequences before performing activities that could distract them from driving. When you are texting or otherwise distracted, your eyes are not on the road and your attention is not on driving. Driving distracted puts you, your passengers, other drivers, and their passengers at risk of injury or death. If you cause an accident while texting and driving, you could be charged criminally, or civilly, or both.
The Injured Victim of Distracted Driving Accidents
If you are hit by a driver who was texting or in violation of Georgia’s Hands-Free Law, then you may have a negligence claim against the driver and be able to recover for your injuries. Ways to prove a crash may have been the result of texting and driving include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Subpoena the at-fault driver’s cell phone records – did they send or receive a text or email at or around the time of the accident.
- Review video or security cameras that may have recorded the accident.
- Interview witnesses – Did someone see the accident or the at-fault driver texting at or around the time of the accident.
- Take depositions of the at-fault driver and their passengers.
At Gautreaux Law, we have both the experience and the resources needed to thoroughly investigate distracted driving accidents to get the maximum recovery for your injuries. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident don’t delay as there may be time limits for recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation to see what your case may be worth. 478-238-9758 or toll-free 1-888-876-6935.