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The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Many people claim that they can multitask. They can make breakfast, get the kids ready for school, and talk on the phone all at the same time. Even though that might sound impressive, there are some activities you will need to give 100% of your focus in order to keep yourself and everyone else safe. Driving, for instance, is one of them.

While driving, you need to keep your eyes on the road and remain focused or else there can be fatal consequences. Distracted driving is a common issue in the United States. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving: talking/texting on your phone, eating/drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, engaging with the stereo or GPS— anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, "Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed."

There are three main types of distraction:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road

  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel

  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off driving

Distracted driving can lead to serious injury or worse, death. In the U.S. in 2018, over 2,800 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. About 1 in 5 of the people who died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2018 were not in vehicles―they were walking, riding their bikes, or otherwise outside a vehicle.

In 2019, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Many states have enacted laws that make distracted driving illegal. For example, distracted driving is illegal in Georgia.

The state currently prohibits:

  • Reading, writing, or sending text messages while driving

  • Reading or posting to social media while driving

  • Recording or viewing videos while driving

  • The use of any cell phones, even hands-free, by school bus drivers

The law was put into action July 1st, 2018. There are two types of enforcement for distracted driving laws: primary enforcement and secondary enforcement.

Primary enforcement means that the police can pull you over if they see you violating state distracted driving laws. Secondary enforcement means that the police can cite you for violating distracted driving laws only if you break another law while doing so. Georgia uses primary enforcement.

There are of course, penalties and fines that come with being ticketed for distracted driving:

  • For a first conviction: $50 fine plus one point on your driver’s license

  • For a second conviction: $100 fine plus two points on your driver’s license

  • For a third or subsequent conviction: $150 fine plus three points on your driver’s license

In the first six months after Georgia instituted its hand-free cell phone requirement, officers in this state wrote 8,036 citations for the use of handheld devices. Shortly after the law took effect, cell phone use while driving dropped 21% to 15.4% of total driving time.

Now, there are some exceptions to the distracted driving law, such as:

  • First responders (law enforcement, fire, EMS) during performance of duties are exempt from distracted driving laws

  • Employees or contractors of a utility service provider acting within the scope of their employment while responding to an emergency

  • Using your handheld phone to report an emergency, crime, or traffic accident

  • Dashboard cams are permitted

  • Cell phones may be used for navigational purposes, such as through Google Maps

  • GPS use is permitted

  • The use of music streaming apps is permitted as long as they are pre-programmed and controlled through the car’s stereo system

  • The use of the following electronic communication devices is permitted while driving

There is a popular phrase that says, "When you drive, you drive for everyone else on the road." Meaning, that while getting from point A to point B, remember you are sharing the road with other people. Be cautious and aware while driving. Keep your eyes on the road and remain focused on driving.

If you, or someone you know have been involved in an auto accident, call Your Accident Your Money at (888) 766-6398

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