Although it is illegal to text while driving in forty-four of the fifty states in the U.S., including Georgia, many drivers continue to text message while behind the wheel of a vehicle.
It is estimated by the NHTSA that approximately 600,000 drivers are using an electronic device while driving at any given moment. The average amount of time that a driver takes their attention off the roadway to text is 4.6 seconds. This many seem insignificant, but 4.6 seconds is enough time to travel 100 yards when the vehicle is moving at 55 MPH. So, drivers are traveling the length of a football field without their eyes on the road daily. That is plenty of opportunity for a devastating automobile crash to be caused. Texting and driving is perhaps the most dangerous form of distracted driving, as it triples the risk of a wreck.
It is not only drivers of passenger vehicles that use mobile devices while driving. Because of the large number of injuries and deaths caused by commercial vehicle drivers texting behind the wheel, laws were passed in 2010 to regulate tractor trailer drivers. This law makes it illegal for 18-wheeler drivers to text message while driving their big rigs. The likelihood of a safety-critical event occurring for a commercial vehicle driver is 23.2 times greater when texting is involved. Even dialing a phone can cause higher likelihood of tractor trailer crashes, so law enforcement officials have cracked down on commercial vehicle drivers greatly. Visit our blog for more texting and driving statistics.
Unfortunately, texting and driving can be hard to detect. This lack of detection and retribution may be why it is still so common on Georgia roadways. As long as the phone or other electronic device is beneath the steering wheel in the driver’s lap or other hidden place, law enforcement officials typically cannot detect them. However, this does not mean it is impossible for police officers to catch you texting while driving. Many drivers are obvious when they partake in distracted driving. Actions such as driving slowly, hesitating at stop lights, staring at one’s lap, and weaving are simple ways that Georgia law enforcement officials are able to spot cell phone use while driving. In the future, there may be even more ways for police officers to detect distracted driving from electronic devices. ComSonics has been developing a device similar to radar-guns for speed that will notify of cell phone use. It uses radio frequencies, but has yet to be implemented by law enforcement agencies.
Each of us probably knows someone who has been affected by the negative effects of distracted driving. For this reason, we support law enforcement officials becoming stricter on distracted driving and text messaging behind the wheel of an automobile. Thousands of people lose their lives each year as a result of cell phone use while driving. Many times, it is an innocent victim who is injured in a devastating crash, all because another driver could not wait to send a text message. At the Jones & Swanson, our attorneys represent victims of auto accidents on a daily basis. While we enjoy aiding those victims, it is disheartening to hear of the numerous crashes and accidents that occur in metro-Atlanta because of texting and driving.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of another’s distracted driving, you do not have to face the medical bills and insurance companies alone. We are here to provide aid to those who need it. For a free legal consultation, call (770) 427-5498 today.