Put Down Your Phone

Put Down Your Phone

It can wait, people. It can wait. Why do so many drivers try to do other things while behind the wheel? Of course, it can be easy to get caught up in the monotony of driving, to forget the very real possibility of being involved in an accident simply because one hasn’t happened recently – or maybe ever. The reality is it takes only a second for that false sense of security to be shattered, to permanently change lives because of reckless behavior. It defies common sense that driving is also the time to take pictures of yourself, post the view from your window on social media, watch the YouTube video of the song you just heard, send an email about soccer practice, or scour your field of vision for Pokémon. Yet, motorists everywhere are attempting these types of multitasking – and leaving a trail of devastation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately eight people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured EVERY DAY in wrecks involving distracted driving (and these numbers are likely underreported because people are reluctant to admit their behavior). Defined as operating a motor vehicle while doing another activity that takes attention away from the road, distracted driving includes, among other things, smoking, drinking, eating, talking with passengers, and adjusting in-car controls. By far, the biggest distraction in today’s society is using a cell phone.

The National Safety Council (NSC) calculates that about 25 percent of all vehicle crashes can be attributed to distracted driving connected with use of a phone, which is greater than the risk presented by low-level alcohol impairment.  One text increases the chances of crashing by at least six times. While Georgia is not one of the 14 states that currently prohibits all drivers from using hand-held cell phones, it is one of the 46 states that bans text messaging for all drivers.

As technology has advanced, using a mobile phone to talk or text while driving are hardly the only poor choices. Drivers can now use their smartphones to post to social media, read or send email, play games, take selfies, and more. A recent survey sponsored by NSC reported that 74 percent of the 2,400 respondents would use Facebook while driving and around one-third would use Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram if there were no laws governing behavior while driving.

There are already stories of how posting real-time photos or commentary while operating a vehicle can result in tragedy. A Maine driver who was taking part in a selfie smashed into a tree, injuring several passengers. A North Carolina accident was called in one minute after the driver had posted an update to her Facebook page. Here in Georgia, a teenager allegedly reached speeds of 107 mph to take selfies with Snapchat’s speed filter. The driver of the car she ran into was left with permanent brain damage.

The popular game Pokémon Go has been all over the news for the almost unbelievable behavior of its players. Users have been so engrossed they have been robbed, fallen off cliffs, lured by criminals, lost in the woods, charged with trespassing, and refused medical treatment. One New York player ran into a tree while driving while a Maryland player was caught on camera crashing into a parked police car. The designers have released two updates intended to make it harder to play while operating a vehicle, but there are easy ways around these fixes.

Motorists who put safe driving on hold to use technology can easily miss traffic signals, bicyclists, pedestrians, other cars, and more. If you or someone you love has been injured by someone who chose to drive while distracted, it is important to contact a GA car wreck lawyer. The personal injury attorneys at the Mann Law Firm can help by reviewing your circumstances and discussing all available legal options. Call us at 478-742-3381 or fill out our online form. 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. We would like to meet with you to discuss your case, and we are proud to offer free initial consultations.