April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is understandable that many drivers have other things on their mind, especially if they are essential workers or employees going back to work for the first time as businesses begin to reopen. It is particularly important to understand the dangers of distracted driving. According to the National Safety Council, at least 1,000 people are injured every day in distracted driving crashes, with teenage drivers being the most likely to be in a distracted driving-related accident. Distracted Driving Awareness Month is designed to save lives by helping drivers recognize and eliminate the dangers of being distracted while behind the wheel.
Distracted Driving Laws in Georgia
Georgia has specific laws in place to prevent distracted driving. Under the 2018 Hands-Free Law, drivers cannot have a phone in their hand or touching any part of their body while driving. It is illegal for Georgia drivers to use their phone while driving to:
- Write, read, or send text messages, emails, social media, or any other internet data
- Watch any non-navigational/GPS videos
- Record any videos while on the road
- Use music apps that are not controlled through the vehicle’s radio.
Drivers caught violating the Hands-Free law face a fine of $50.00 and points against their driver’s license.
Common Driving Distractions
Anything a driver does that takes their focus off the road is considered distracted driving. There are three types of distracted driving: visual (eyes off the road), manual (hands off the wheel), and cognitive (distracted focus from what is happening on the road). Cell phones are one of the greatest distractions because they often result in all three types of distracted driving at once. However, there are many other common driving distractions. These include:
- Talking to other passengers in the car
- Playing with the radio, or having the volume too loud
- Eating or drinking in the car
- Grooming (applying make-up, fixing hair, shaving)
- Reaching for anything in the car
Tips for Avoiding Dangerous Distractions
Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to avoid driving distracted. To cut down on cell phone distractions, the Georgia Office of Highway Safety recommends:
- Programming your GPS/navigational system prior to driving
- If you need to send or read a text message, pull your vehicle over and park before reaching for your phone
- If you need to make a call, use a cell phone holder and voice commands to remain hands-free while driving
- If you have a passenger, ask them to help answer your phone or respond to text messages
- If the temptation to use your phone is too great, put it in the trunk, glove compartment, or the back seat.
Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Burrow & Associates
In these unprecedented times, it is easy for our minds to wander and to get distracted. But when you’re behind the wheel, your focus needs to stay there. Safe driving saves lives.
If you have additional questions about Georgia’s distracted driving laws, or if you have been injured in an accident as the result of distracted driving, call the experienced personal injury attorneys at Burrow & Associates. You can contact us today at (678) 323-2394. We offer free consultations and have six offices conveniently located in Athens, Conyers, Duluth, Gainesville, Kennesaw, and Morrow.