Before the cell phone, how many times in life did you wish you had one? That time your car broke down on I-85, maybe? What about all those times you wished you could tell your family, friends, or coworkers that you were running late? Don’t forget about the business trips full of downtime spent in shuttles, cars, and airports, feeling like you would be able to get so much more done if only you could make a few calls. The cell phone, though legitimately a great idea, has turned into somewhat of an invasive species, and the industrial world can’t seem to get enough. We live in an age of communication-centric technology and it is likely there is no looking back. There is, however, a lot of looking down … which is causing a lot of problems for drivers, especially in Georgia. According to one tech company, Georgia residents rank as the seventh most distracted drivers in the United States.
Popular family networking app company Life360 allows loved ones to communicate and share their location with each other. Featuring over 50 million registered families, Life360 monitors more than 115 million miles driven every day and records unsafe driving events such as phone usage, rapid acceleration, and hard braking. Assessing its own data, the company determined that drivers in Georgia use their phone while driving 20 percent more often than the average U.S. driver. In a six-week study of different cities, the company found that Atlanta drivers used their phone an average of 2.73 times per trip. The national average was 1.78.
With cell phone use behind the wheel responsible for as much as 64 percent of all U.S. car accidents, police officers are taking notice. In fact, a few local officers recently stationed themselves near Marietta landmark “The Big Chicken” dressed as construction workers to see how many drivers they’d catch texting behind the wheel. In a two-hour period, the police wrote 15 citations for texting while driving. The current penalty for that violation is $150 and one driver’s license point.
Georgia law states: “No person who is 18 years of age or older or who has a Class C license shall operate a motor vehicle on any public road or highway of this state while using a wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read any text based communication, including but not limited to a text message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data.” While there are a few instances when the restriction does not apply, there is no exclusion for being stopped at a light.
Law enforcement officials have drivers’ best interests at heart. Getting a ticket for distracted driving is a lot better than getting seriously injured or killed. In 2016, roadway deaths in this state were the highest they’ve been in 10 years. The Georgia Department of Transportation is sure that distracted driving is a contributor to those figures. It’s hard to disagree.
The next time you take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel, 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. In addition to cases handled in Macon, we are prepared to handle claims on behalf of clients in Dublin, Warner Robins, Milledgeville and other Georgia communities. Contact us by calling 478-742-3381 or using our online form.