As we continue promoting June as National Safety Month, we enter week four from June 22 until June 28, which has a topic of distracted driving prevention. This topic goes hand in hand with last week’s topic of being aware of your surroundings to avoid unnecessary injury to yourself and others. All drivers have a responsibility not only to themselves and their passengers, but to others on Georgia roadways as well. Partaking in distracted driving not only violates Georgia law, but puts other innocent bystanders at risk as well. In 2012 alone, approximately 421,000 victims were injured in auto accidents that involved a driver being distracted behind the wheel. Unfortunately, those numbers have been steadily increasing each year.
What is considered a distraction?
Most people fail to comprehend the numerous actions that are considered distracting to a driver. The simplest of actions, such as conversing with passengers, fixing your hair or makeup, adjusting the radio or music, and even drinking or eating are considered actions that are distracting from the road. Anything that takes your mind off the safe operation of your vehicle is a form of distracted driving and endangers those in vehicles and on sidewalks near your vehicle. In addition, if you are partaking in an activity that requires you to take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road, you are participating in the act of distracted driving.
Perhaps the most common form of distraction while operating an automobile is the use of a cell phone to talk, text, email, or entertain yourself. Compared to other countries, the United States is reported to have the highest number of citizens that use a cell phone while driving. A majority of drivers have used their cell phones at one time or another while driving. Unfortunately, many drivers continuously text or talk on the phone while driving. Many states have begun enforcing laws that ban the use of cell phones while driving because the dangers associated with this action are so significant. Recently, companies have begun developing cell phone apps that do not allow drivers to text while operating the vehicle.
If you are having trouble not texting while driving, here are a few tips that may help:
- Remove your phone’s battery and put it in the trunk of your vehicle so that you cannot access it until the vehicle stops.
- Play the music in your vehicle loud enough that you cannot hear your phone when it rings.
- Silence or turn off your phone while behind the wheel of a vehicle.
- Make use of your auto-reply feature and create an auto-reply text message letting others know you are driving.
- Purchase and wear driving gloves that will not allow you to text message or otherwise use your phone. Admittedly, this is a little ambitious, but if it stops a driver from driving while distracted, it may save a life.
Our law firm represents victims of automobile accidents every day. Many injuries and deaths are caused by distracted drivers, and because we see the first hand effects of these actions, we are proactive in advising others not to operate a vehicle while distracted. Perhaps the best method to stop distracted driving is to encourage others not to do so.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to hold that driver responsible for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and missed work. For more information and a personalized consultation, contact Jones & Swanson today at (770) 427-5498.