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Distracted Driving is More Dangerous Than Drunk Driving
In a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving a motor vehicle while sending text messages is six times more dangerous than driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the report, driving while operating a mobile device has become the leading cause of serious injury and death among teenage drivers. In 2018, more than 4,637 people died in car crashes due to cell phone use. Including the cost to people’s lives, these crashes were responsible for $129 billion of the overall societal damage caused by all motor vehicle crashes. Unfortunately, these numbers stand to increase.
NHTSA reports what it terms “an epidemic of distracted driving” as the cause of the dramatic increase in traffic deaths. Distraction is not limited to visual distractions such as a driver taking their eyes off the road to look at a phone, stereo or some other device. It can also involve manual distractions, such as when a driver takes their hands off the wheel to do something, or cognitive distractions, when a driver loses mental focus on driving. NHTSA points out that even if you have a hands-free device for your phone, such as a Bluetooth, when you are driving and talking you can put too much attention on the subject matter of your conversation and not enough attention to where you are going or what you are doing.
Some of the specific activities identified as causes of motor vehicle accidents include:
- Sending or receiving text messages while driving;
- Using a cell phone or looking up information on a smartphone;
- Turning music on or off, or changing a station;
- Eating or drinking while driving;
- Talking to other passengers, including children in the backseat;
- Reading, from maps to books to papers or magazines; and
- Grooming, including combing hair, applying makeup or even putting on a tie and/or jacket.
Thanks to public awareness, national organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and stiffer enforcement of drunk driving laws, the number of alcohol-related deaths in the United States has fallen by more than half in the last 30 years. Unfortunately, during the same time the number of road fatalities due to other factors, such as texting while driving, has almost doubled.
In the state of Georgia, it is illegal to use a cell phone while driving unless a hands-free device is activated. No texting or text-based communication of any kind is allowed by someone operating a vehicle. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact us today to discuss your case. You need an attorney with experience to help you hold negligent drivers liable and to recover payment from insurance companies. Use our online contact form or call us now at (770) 429-8119 to arrange a free consultation.