Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

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The Governor’s Highway Safety Association has released a new report that provides recommendations to state highway offices on steps that they can take to reduce the incidence of distracted driving. A significant number of car accidents are caused by drivers who are distracted due to their use of telephones, radios, eating and other activities in their car.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association released the report titled Directing Drivers’ Attention: State Highway Safety Office Roadmap for Combating Distracted Driving.  In the report, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association presents a number of recommendations that states can use in order to reduce the risk of drivers causing auto accidents while distracted. These types of car accidents are a significant cause of personal injuries that occur in accidents.

The recommendations are broad- ranging, and include everything from enforcement and law making to infrastructure and education. One of the more important topics that the Governor’s Highway Safety Association addresses in its report is the role of distracted driving laws.  The Governor’s Highway Safety Association is recommending that states amend their Graduated Driver’s Licensing laws to restrict the number of passengers that teen drivers can have in their car.  Teen passengers can be a major source of distraction for novice drivers. Fortunately, Georgia has already adopted this measure. New teen drivers in Georgia cannot have a passenger who is not a family member during the first 6 months of driving and then is gradually, over time, allowed to have passengers who are not relatives.

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The Georgia Department of Transportation is partnering with the Lutzie 43 Foundation in a new campaign to reduce the number of people seriously injured or killed in car accidents every year.

The Lutzie 43 Foundation launched the 43 Key Seconds campaign after the wrongful death of a much- loved family member in a traffic accident caused by an impaired and distracted driver. The 43 Key Seconds campaign centres around the use of special keys that remind drivers to take 43 seconds to prepare themselves for the task of driving, eliminate all distractions and ensure that they are completely alert behind the wheel before they begin operating the car.

The key reminds drivers to plan ahead for a designated driver if they are out for an evening of drinking and reminds them to make sure that their cell phones are on Silent mode before they begin driving. Drunk driving and distracted driving involving the use of a cell phone are two of the most preventable types of car accident which occur.

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As of 2018, a whopping 77 percent of the American population possessed a smartphone. A driver that is distracted because of cellphone use can produce devastating results because rather than focusing on the road, they are involved in tasks such as reading and answering emails and texts, engaging in social media and other highly distracting activities that can seriously impede a motorist’s concentration at the wheel.

Lawmakers in Georgia recently passed the Hands-Free Law which prohibits drivers from using a handheld cell phone, with very few exceptions.  This is good news for drivers in the Atlanta area as research shows that motorists in states that have a ban on the use of hand-held cell phones are less likely to use a cell phone or smart phone while driving.  This helps to reduce the risks of accidents on the roads keeping everyone safer.  There is a growing trend across the nation to ban cellphone use while driving.  Georgia was the 16th state to impose a ban on hand-held cell phones for motorists.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in its latest safety report focuses on distracted driving, especially cell phone use and its effect on driving safety. The researchers found that motorists in states that ban cellphone use, like Georgia, were less likely to be at risk of an accident caused by their cellphone use.

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More and more accidents would be prevented every year in the U.S. if motorists would simply do the one thing that they’re supposed to do behind the wheel-focus on the task of driving. Unfortunately, far too many American motorists are engaged in a variety of different tasks while driving, increasing their risk of an accident and threatening the safety of other motorists, passengers, and pedestrians.

The National Safety Council last month delivered the results of new findings which once again underscored how serious the problem of distracted driving is. April was National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and to mark this month, the National Safety Council compiled the results of earlier surveys. The exercise yielded some very startling facts.

As many as 50% of all drivers believe that it is acceptable and perfectly safe for a person to text either using a manual device, or a voice-activated system. About half of all drivers also confirm that they are under constant pressure from their employers to remain accessible while driving.  Forty four percent admit that they have been involved in an accident during the past three years while traveling to work.

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As the bad news on distracted driving continues to grow, there is some good news in the war against drunk driving. A new study indicates that the popularity of ridesharing apps like Lyft and Uber is contributing to a drop in drunk driving collisions.

The study was conducted in New York, and focused on those areas of the city that had been very quick to adopt Uber. Researchers compared accident rates in each of the city’s five boroughs, and found that the rate of alcohol-related car collisions dropped significantly in those boroughs which had quickly adopted Uber. In Staten Island, where Uber took a longer time to gain popularity, the rate remained the same. Earlier reports have also indicated some impact of ridesharing apps on people’s decisions and actions related to driving after consuming alcohol.

However, another study conducted last July yielded vastly different findings. According to data collected from around the country, ridesharing seems to have no effect on the number of people killed in drunk driving accidents on weekends or major holidays. Those researchers point to the fact that there still aren’t enough ridesharing drivers on the road to actually make a dent in the high rates of intoxicated driving on major holidays and weekends.

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Millennial drivers between the ages of 19 and 20 are most likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors, and those behaviors expose them to increased accident risks.

Those are the results of a new study that was published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study found that 88% of young millennials admitted to engaging in at least one risky driving activity over the past month.  Some of these driving behaviors included texting while driving, running red lights, and driving at excessive speeds.

The increasing number of millennials on our roads could, therefore, partly explain the significant increase in traffic accident fatalities recorded in 2015. That year, there were 35,092 traffic accident fatalities, an increase of more than 7%, coming after years of declining fatalities. Those disturbing statistics indicate that there are other factors in play, besides non-adherence to distracted driving laws and speeding, which are contributing to this spike in fatalities.

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Apple is at the center of a class-action lawsuit filed by a man who claims that the company was negligent in its failure to implement an anti-distracted driving safety feature that it had patented.

The California man was involved in an accident in which he was rear-ended by a motorist, who was using her iPhone while driving. He suffered back injuries, and also suffered extensive damage to his vehicle.

He has now filed a class action lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the smart phone maker had patented a lockout mechanism which would have helped prevent an accident like his. This lockout mechanism disables smart phones, preventing a motorist from performing functions like texting while driving.  While Apple has patented the technology, it has not added the lockout technology to its best-selling devices.  This decision by Apple was made even though the company was very clearly aware of the dangers of distracted driving.

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Motor vehicle accident fatalities continue to be a problem across the United States. This is true in Georgia, where the traffic accident fatality toll in the first half of 2015 looks set to exceed the number recorded the previous year. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) believes that distracted driving, accounts for much of that increase.

Thus far, according to the statistics, traffic accidents are up by 25% over the previous year. Georgia records an average of 100 fatalities every month, and at that rate, the total will be at least 1,200 fatalities by the end of the year. If that happens, it would be an increase of 4.6% from 2014. There have been close to 400 traffic accident fatalities in Georgia this year.

Other findings from the 2015 statistics should cause even more alarm. For example, many of the fatalities were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. Only 38 % of the motorists involved in fatal accidents were wearing seat belts at the time. In addition, 69% failed to maintain their lanes. These are crucial driving errors that dramatically increase the risk of being killed in an accident.

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Despite the fairly recent spate of Georgia laws banning texting while driving, as well as an accompanying push by mainstream media to educate consumers nationwide, motorists continue to regularly engage in the practice– either because they fail to recognize the very real risk presented by what has repeatedly been called one of the most precarious distracted driving activities, or because they purposefully choose to ignore it. Then again, the push against distracted driving is so recent that many people may find it difficult to fully comprehend the repercussions that the activity can have. Nonetheless, this lack of education does nothing to change the ultimate, and often fatal, effect that results.

A woman in Douglas County, Georgia, recently demonstrated just how fatal checking even one seemingly insignificant text message while behind the wheel can be, reports Alexis Stevens at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 26-year-old Danielle Garcia had allegedly just received a text message and was holding a conversation on her cell phone moments before she caused a fatal car accident that claimed two lives and resulted in significant injuries to other motorists involved. Among charges for second degree homicide by vehicle, following too closely and driving with an expired license, she also faces a charge for distracted driving–even though Garcia attempted to delete the text message before handing her phone over to police officials.

With technological advances steadily making the rounds in the communication realm, an increasing number of consumers are lured by the temptation to use their phones while in the car. Because, however, the number of car accidents caused by distracted driving is also on the rise, many personal injury attorneys are starting to feel that educational media utilizing the “shock factor” may indeed be the best deterrent currently available.
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In this technology-driven age, texting while driving is undoubtedly the most rampant of the distracted driving culprits. It has become so much of an issue that many states, including Georgia, have in recent years implemented bans against the practice – hoping that discouraging the conduct will subsequently curtail the number of car accidents that result. Georgia codified its ban three years ago, in 2010. The law, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.1, applies to all drivers in the state. Furthermore, acknowledging that young drivers most often fall prey to the call of the cell, a full cell phone ban was promulgated that same year against motorists under the age of 18. Violators in both instances face a penalty of $150 upon conviction, plus a point against their driving history.

Since that time, more serious offenses (e.g. distracted driving coupled with substance abuse) have carried the potential for stiffer penalties when an injured party actually files a lawsuit. Recently, some Georgia courts have held that texting while driving may result in personal liability of a kind beyond the protection of insurance coverage.

The laws have certainly experienced a certain degree of success. In fact, Georgia’s laws on distracted driving are so effectively worded that the state was one of only seven selected to receive a grant from the Department of Transportation to help combat the epidemic. Georgia topped the list of seven with a grant of $1.63 million. So, it seems, the laws are here to stay.
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