Driving serves as one of the primary modes of transport, bringing us from one place to another. For those living Georgia’s busy lifestyles, sometimes car time means an opportunity to multitask – take phone calls, listen to messages, even catch a quick bite. Unfortunately, such an attitude can lead to serious accidents. Car crashes can have damaging, even deadly results. To prevent accidents, it is critical to stay alert while driving.
Alertness is more than just keeping your eyes on the road. Drivers need to keep their hands on the wheel, so they can react to any potential obstacles that arise. They also need to keep their mind focused on driving and not on other matters. Any combination of eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind away from driving can result in distracted driving.
Common Activities That Create Distracted Driving
Many drivers spend their time behind the wheel engaging in other activities. Think of how often people eat or talk on the phone while driving. Even something that might seem necessary to driving to a location, such as looking at a map or GPS, can lead to distracted driving. Other distracting activities include:
- Adjusting the radio
- Attending to passengers or pets
- Checking self in mirror
- Eating and drinking
- Holding a phone call
- Manipulating vehicle instruments, such as lights or windshield wipers
- Personal grooming
- Reaching for fallen objects
- Reading roadside billboards
- Talking with passengers
- Using voice-activated features
- Watching car crash sites
Activities that don’t involve your eyes or hands are just as dangerous as those that do. The more levels of distractibility an activity has, the more likely it is to cause a crash. Something as simple as sending a text, which requires the attention of your eyes, hands, and mind, can be fatal when conducted behind the wheel.
Risks of Distracted Driving
Driving at 55 miles an hour means that you’re covering the length of a football field within seconds – and Georgia highways often run at a much faster pace. Even lower speeds involve covering a great amount of distance in a small amount of time. While this is the reason we use motor vehicles for transport, it is also why driving can be so dangerous.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study in 2006 that concluded the risk of a crash doubles when taking eyes off the road for more than two seconds. If roadway conditions change while a driver is looking away, there may not be enough time to react upon looking back up.
Though many voice-activated programs are meant to reduce the risks of looking at a phone while driving, they still pose a distraction. According to another AA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, the level of mental distraction for using voice commands to respond to messages and navigate menus is much higher than adjusting a car’s radio or temperature settings, creating a greater risk for accidents. Even hands-free phone calls provide mental distraction from the road.
Distracted Driving Consequences
While many drivers understand that distracted driving has risks, most still engage in cell phone use and other distracting activities while driving. To prevent such activity, Georgia law prohibits drivers from texting behind the wheel. Drivers under 18 cannot use any kind of wireless telecommunications device. Both these rules are in place to restrict cell phones, which is one of the most widespread forms of distracted driving.
The law considers drivers who are not attentive to the road as negligent. If an accident occurs, the distracted driver is accountable for any damages in the accident. Through a personal injury case, injured parties may pursue compensation against drivers responsible for their accidents. For those involved in a motor accident due to distracted driving, an Atlanta car accident attorney can help explain rights for compensation under the law.