Atlanta Distracted Driving Attorney
Every five seconds, a vehicle crashes on an American roadway, and every 10 minutes, someone dies as a result. One of the most common contributors to roadway accidents is distracted driving. In 2019 alone, there were 3,142 fatalities in auto crashes involving a distracted driver. But what is distracted driving?
Distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in any activity that diverts attention away from driving. There are numerous types of distractions, ranging from using the navigation system, eating or drinking, talking with passengers, or reading while driving.
Many states recognize the seriousness of distracted driving and have implemented a number of laws to help curb the problem. When a driver is paying enough attention while driving, has his/her hands off the wheel, or is mentally focused on something other than driving, the possibility of getting involved in an accident dramatically increases.
Some studies have proven that those who talk or text on a cell phone while driving are just as impaired as intoxicated drivers. What’s more, it has been proven that both hands-free and using hand-held cell phones can cause approximately the same level of impairment.
There are numerous potential dangers and consequences of distracted driving including:
Being involved in a distracted driving accident
You might be the most experienced driver, but if you get distracted while driving, you are always likely to end up in a car collision. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving accounts for at least 8.7% of the entire 2019 car accident fatalities. In 2018 alone, more than 2,800 people died and an additional 400,000 were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers. Simply put, if you are distracted while driving, you are more likely to get involved in a collision.
If you caused an auto accident and were found to be at fault due to distracted driving, you could be ordered to pay significant amounts of money for the loss of life, injuries as well as property damage.
If you are not involved in a collision, being caught distracted while driving can result in severe penalties such as fines, driving license suspensions, and penalty points on a driver’s license.
Higher insurance premiums
According to the NHTSA, in addition to the tragedy of the fatalities associated with distracted driving accidents, the surge in accidents also equates to higher costs of insurance. The higher the rate of accidents, the more claims insurers have to pay. Insurance companies often turn to customers by increasing insurance premiums. Since 2011, car insurance premiums have increased by at least 16%, correlating with the increase in distracted driving crashes.
Different Types of distractions
According to the CDC, there are many types of distracted driving, including:
- Visual distractions: Just as the name implies, visual distractions cause you to take your eyes off the road. Common distractions include activities such as searching for items on the floor of your car, checking your GPS or navigation system, and using your vehicle’s infotainment system while driving.
- Manual distractions: Manual distractions can be described as those that cause you to take your hands off the steering wheel, such as smoking, drinking, checking your mobile phone as well as using your car’s navigation system.
- Cognitive distractions: Cognitive distractions take your focus as well as concentration away from driving. Cognitive distractions could be anything from fatigue, and stress to driving under the influence of drugs, road rage, and talking to your passengers in the vehicle.
Different Ways That Drivers Can Be Distracted
First and foremost, it’s worth noting that no distraction is worse or better than the other. Any type of distraction puts your safety as well as the safety of your passengers at risk. Any of the below activities can count as distracted driving:
- Cell phone use: Cell phone use is the most common cause of distracted driving, and most states, including Georgia, ban texting and internet use while driving. Other activities associated with mobile phone use include taking pictures, talking on the phone, navigating reading, and watching video clips.
- Personal grooming such as applying makeup or combing your hair.
- Adjusting car controls such as the radio, air conditioner, and navigation system.
- Drinking or eating while driving.
- Talking to other passengers in the vehicle.
- Reaching for something in the automobile
- Tending to small infants, children, and pets
- Being psychologically or emotionally distracted by a stressful event.
- Using headsets to listen to music.
- Being distracted by external surroundings.
Tips For Avoiding or Preventing Distracted Driving Accidents
Driving is an activity that demands your full attention, and the best way to avoid distractions is to stay focused and keep your hands on the wheel and your mind and eyes on the road. Remember, you, your passengers, other motorists, bicyclists, and other pedestrians depend on you to be fully focused while driving to protect their lives. While it’s probably impossible to never have a distraction while driving, there are a few things you can do to avoid distractions including:
- Never multitask while behind the wheel. When it’s applying makeup, selecting music, or adjusting your vehicle’s navigation system, do it either before or after your road trip, not during.
- Don’t eat or drink while driving.
- Practice short, quick glances and avoid extended staring.
- Conduct personal grooming before leaving or after reaching your destination.
- Don’t allow passengers to interfere with your concentration.
- Use pet carriers or portable kennels to prevent them from roaming around while driving.
- Pull over and stop if kids need attention that could divert your concentration from driving.
- Use hands-free microphones.
- Don’t take notes or jot down numbers while behind the wheel.
- Ask one of your passengers to adjust the radio or the climate controls for you.
- Talk to your teen or young adult about the dangers of distracted driving as well as the regulations and responsibilities involved in driving. Don’t forget to tell them that driving is a skill that demands the driver’s full, undivided attention.
- Familiarize yourself with your state’s distracted driving laws. Many states have enacted laws to help curb distracted driving. These include banning messaging while driving, limiting the number of passengers who can ride with teen drivers as well as implementing hands-free laws.
Possible Penalties For Drivers Caught Driving Distracted
Before we talk about the potential penalties for drivers caught driving distracted, let’s first discuss Georgia’s hands-free law. This particular law took effect on July 1st, 2018, and prohibits:
- The use of hand-held phones by all drivers: It states that your phone should not touch any part of your body while you are talking on it.
- Writing, reading, or sending messages while driving.
- Reading or posting to social media while driving.
- Recording or viewing videos while driving.
- The use of any mobile phone, even hands-free, by school bus drivers.
- Distracted driving, in general.
If you’ve been injured as a result of an Atlanta distracted driving accident, your attorney will investigate if the at fault driver is guilty of any of these violations.
Violating these rules may be subjected to several penalties including:
- First offenders face a fine of $50 plus one point on their driver’s license.
- For a second conviction within a year, the penalty will be a fine of not more than $100 plus two points on your driver’s license.
- For a third or subsequent conviction, your penalty will be a fine of $150 plus three points on your driver’s license.
Tips on How To Stay Safe While Driving
Research shows that most car accidents in the United States are caused by driver errors such as aggressive driving, distracted driving, speeding as well as impaired driving. The good news is that as a driver, you hold the key to car accident prevention. Below are a few proven, practical tips on how to protect yourself as well as your passengers while driving.
- Buckle up: Before you start driving, make sure you and your passengers are effectively restrained. It’s one of the best ways to protect your life and the lives of your passengers if involved in an accident.
- Don’t get behind the wheel impaired: Don’t take alcohol or other drugs if you are going driving.
- Share the road: Look out for other road users, including commercial truck drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists as well as pedestrians.
- Refrain from aggressive driving: Aggressive drivers often take unwanted risks, leading to accidents.
- Avoid long drives during the night.
Driver distraction is one of the most common causes of accidents not only in Atlanta, Georgia, but across the United States. We have discussed the dangers and consequences of an Atlanta distracted driving accident, and the various types of distractions, but have also described the various tips on how drivers can prevent distractions while driving. What’s more, we have also talked about the various penalties that at-fault drivers may face when found guilty of distracted driving.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the role of an Atlanta distracted accident lawyer in a case?
An Atlanta distracted driving accident lawyer can help with every aspect of your case, including serious injuries such as broken limbs, and head injuries, all of which can be costly. Under Georgia law, victims of distracted driving car accidents can be compensated for losses suffered due to another party’s negligence. If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you could be eligible for compensation. An Atlanta distracted accident lawyer will work with you to help you get the best possible outcome in your personal injury lawsuit. They will try to negotiate with insurance companies to get a fair settlement for your damages.
How can an Atlanta car accident attorney help victims of distracted driver accidents?
In the state of Georgia, you can get compensated for a distracted driving accident after proving fault on the other driver’s part. You must show proof that the other driver was distracted and this is what caused the accident and your injuries.
However, it’s worth noting that proving driver distraction can be very complex and overwhelming as well. Dealing with insurance companies, in particular, can be a huge challenge. An experienced distracted driving accident lawyer in Atlanta will try to defend your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses.
What does the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have to say about distracted drivers and motor vehicle crashes?
According to the NHTSA, nearly 62% of distracted driving accident cases result from drivers losing mental focus on the road. What’s more, at least 80% of auto crashes are caused by a driver being distracted. 2% of distracted driving accidents are due to drinking or eating. Your attention span to the road reduces by nearly 40% when you listen to music in the vehicle.
Is it possible to win an auto accident case if the driver’s distraction caused the crash?
Yes. The state of Georgia allows victims of distracted driving accidents to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for the accident. It is negligence when a driver fails to dedicate his full attention to the road while driving. When their recklessness leads to an accident, the injured parties can seek financial damages in a court of law.
A driver who engages in other activities that draw his/her attention from the road has intentionally put himself and other road users at risk. And if your experienced personal injury attorney can prove that the driver was engaging in negligent behavior, then the driver will be liable for your damages. These damages may include medical costs, property damage, lost income, pain, and suffering, among others.
How does one find a qualified personal injury attorney for a distracted lawsuit?
It’s always important to have a reputable and experienced personal injury attorney on your side if you are involved in a car crash caused by a distracted driver. A distracted driving accident can be devastating, and victims usually have to contend with costly medical bills as well as other damages.
A highly skilled Atlanta distracted driving accident attorney knows and understands both the financial and emotional toll these accidents can take on victims as well as their families. They can help you explore your legal options to seek the right compensation for your damages. However, with numerous personal injury lawyers to choose from, finding the right professional can sometimes prove to be an overwhelming task. Below are a few tips to help you find a personal injury attorney:
- Get recommendations: The best place to begin your search for a distracted accident attorney is by getting recommendations from those around you, including family members and friends. Talk to coworkers, friends, and family who have worked with a lawyer in the past.
- Do your research: After getting recommendations from those you know, it’s time to conduct thorough research on the background of every attorney suggested. Check out each attorney’s website to have a better understanding of their practice areas and the types of cases they generally handle. Make sure they boast extensive experience in driving accident cases and a successful track record of fair compensation for their clients.
- Check online reviews as well as ratings to have a better understanding of the personal injury lawyer’s reputation.
- Schedule a consultation: Many reputable distracted driving attorneys, such as Scholle Law, offer free consultations so that clients can get to know them and their practice better before hiring them. During your free consultation, ask relevant questions regarding the attorney’s experience, fees as well as case results.
What are some of the common distractions that contribute to motor vehicle crashes involving driver negligence?
While there are numerous types of driver distractions, the most common distractions that lead to auto crashes involving driver’s negligence are talking and texting, adjusting the GPS, adjusting music or other control systems, applying makeup, handling kids and pets, talking to passengers and not looking at the road while driving. Your injury lawyer can help you gain access to critical elements to your case such as cell phone records and, in the case of modern vehicles, the automobile’s onboard computer.
Can legal action be taken against distracted drivers who cause car crashes due to their negligence?
Yes, Georgia law allows victims of distracted drivers to file a lawsuit against a distracted driver who caused an accident due to his/her negligence. Driving distracted is an offense and it is negligence when a driver does not pay attention to the road. When that carelessness results in a crash, victims can pursue financial damages for their losses.
Are there any laws or regulations specifically addressing distracted driving in Atlanta, Georgia?
Georgia’s hands-free laws state that drivers should not take part in any activities that can distract them from safely operating the vehicle. Drivers face penalties if found driving while distracted, especially if they cause car crashes. Besides penalties for violating the law, at-fault drivers may also face lawsuits if victims of the accident suffer serious injuries.
In what ways do insurance companies evaluate cases involving motor vehicle crashes caused by distraction-related negligence from drivers on the road in Atlanta, Georgia?
In general, the state of Georgia follows the doctrine of negligence per se. This doctrine simply permits an inference of negligence by the accused if the victim can prove that the defendant violated a safety statute, the infringement caused an accident, and the victim belonged to the category of people that were intended to be protected by the safety statute.
The legal theory of negligence can be shown if the victim can show the duty of the accused, a breach of the duty, actual and proximate causation as well as actual damages. If a distracted driver is found guilty, the insurance company will assess many parameters before coming up with a compensation package. These may include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged vehicle, physical pain, and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
What types of evidence must be presented to prove that a driver’s distraction was responsible for causing crashes and resulting injuries in an auto accident case?
Usually, a single piece of evidence is often not sufficient to prove that a driver’s distraction was responsible for the accident. There are multiple forms of evidence that both victims and their personal injury attorneys can use to support their claims, including:
- Filed police report: Some compelling evidence that could be provided include what the officer uncovered in the at-fault driver’s cellphone, statements from passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists, the police officer’s observations that implicated the at-fault driver as well as the driver’s statements to the officer admitting he/she was distracted.
- Photos of the accident scene as well as video footage from traffic cameras, security surveillance, and cellphones.
- Witness testimony.
- Vehicle data: Today’s vehicles come equipped with advanced computer devices that can track a driver’s activity while driving such as radio and other electronic controls.
For a free case evaluation, contact Scholle Law today on (866) 592-1296. Our legal team will answer all of your questions and let you know if they think you have a case worth pursuing.