Many of us do not truly appreciate the danger of being distracted while operating our vehicles. People erroneously tend to think that they are invincible, that the rules were made for the “other guy.” Yet, ANY activity other than driving that ANY driver engages in is a potential distraction that increases the risk of crashing.
In fact, distracted driving has become such a problem that there is an official United States government website dedicated to educating the public about this safety issue. The most recent numbers available show that in 2012, the number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes nationwide was more than 3,300. Furthermore, an estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver (a 9 percent increase over 2011). Drivers under age 20 were involved in 16 percent of all distracted driving crashes while drivers in their 20s made up 27 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes.
It’s Not Just Cell Phones
Since at any given moment during daylight hours, over 660,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone, we tend to equate cell phones with distracted driving. And while they are a common reason for a person’s attention to be pulled away from driving since they distract on a mental, visual, and physical level, they aren’t the only one.
An Expensive Hamburger
In the headlines recently, an Alabama man was ticketed for distracted driving in Cobb County after getting caught eating a McDonald’s quarter-pounder while driving. That burger could cost him up to three points on his driver’s license, up to a $1,000 fine, and an increase for at least three years in his insurance rates. Although most police officers only cite for distracted driving if they’ve spotted some other violation, it is current Georgia law and they can enforce it if they choose.
So, the next time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of driving, even if it’s “just to eat a burger,” consider whether it’s worth the risk. And if you or someone you love has been injured by someone who took that chance, you need an experienced attorney to effectively represent your interests. At the Mann Law Firm, we have been helping people for over 50 years and we can help you. Contact us by calling (478) 742-3381 in Macon, Dublin, Warner Robbins or Milledgeville, or through our online form.