Articles Posted in Texting and Driving

Distracted driving is an increasingly dangerous problem in Georgia. If you have been involved in an accident involving a distracted driver, you may want to discuss your accident with an experienced Marietta personal injury lawyer. 

Distracted Driving in Georgia: Are You Alert?

Distracted driving is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” 

According to a report in Atlanta News First, the National Safety Council found that 1470 people died in crashes in Georgia in the first ten months of 2022. 

Officials noted that traffic accidents are the number one cause of preventable death for teens. And the latest data confirms that the number of traffic accidents for teens has increased by 16%.

If you, your teen, or your loved one have been involved in a car accident, it may provide peace of mind to speak with an experienced Marietta Personal Injury lawyer.

Tort law is designed to remedy injuries caused by acts of man, as opposed to “acts of God.” Under Georgia law, this means that you cannot hold a defendant liable for “an accident produced by physical causes which are irresistible or inevitable, such as lightning, storms, perils of the sea, earthquakes, inundations, sudden death or illness.” In other words, if there is no “human agency” involved, there is no viable personal injury claim.

Head v. De Souse

But “act of God” does not mean a defendant can escape liability simply by pointing to a natural phenomenon that might have played some role in the accident. A recent decision from the Georgia Court of Appeals, Head v. De Souse, offers a helpful illustration of this point. In this case, a teenage driver attempted to dismiss a personal injury lawsuit based on the fact there was sun in her eyes at the time of the underlying accident.

“Keep your eyes on the road,” is something every parent tells their teenager when teaching them how to drive. But paying attention to the road has become increasingly difficult in recent years with the advent of smartphone technology that makes it easy for people to text or chat with their friends while driving. “Distracted driving” is now considered a public safety problem on par with drunk driving.

More Than 3,000 Distracted Driving Deaths Every Year

The dangers of distracted driving are quite real. According to a recent New York Times article, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 272 teenagers were killed throughout the country in 2015 in “distraction-affected” car accidents. Overall, 3,263 out of 3,477 crash-related deaths in 2015–94%–involved distracted driving.

NAIC.jpgThe National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ eighteen month investigation of Allstate’s claims handling practices ended this month with Allstate agreeing to pay a $10 million dollar settlement. The primary focus of the investigation and settlement relates to Allstate’s use of a claims handling software called Colossus. Allstate has agreed to make several changes to it’s claims handling policies. However as a injury claim lawyer, I still advise caution when dealing with giant insurance companies like Allstate.

Their are many types of insurance claims where hiring a lawyer is typically not necessary, such as clear liability property damage claims. When dealing with a company like Allstate, whether you hire a lawyer or not, it’s always a good idea to at least consult with a lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers provide free consultations and information gathered from a lawyer consultation can be an invaluable resource for determining whether you are being treated fairly by an insurance company.

I just finished up a case where a violent head on collision was caused by a texting teen. In my case, luckily no one was killed, but texting and driving is a huge problem that is killing American teens. Do’s Thumb Wars is a national campaign to help educate drivers on the dangers of texting and driving. Check out the site, they have free thumb socks! What are thumb socks you ask? Watch the video.

In the video above Ken Jeong (Community, The Hangover) and Joel McHale (Community, The Soup) share the sobering fact that car accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths in the U.S., while demonstrating how difficult it is to text when your thumbs are wearing socks.

In an attempt to fix this huge problem, the State of Georgia recently passed a law banning texting while driving. So who knows, if fear of a big traffic ticket doesn’t stop the problem, maybe thumb socks will.

teendriver3.jpgSchool is out for the summer and teen drivers are spending more time behind the wheel. Recent studies indicate teen drivers engage in more risky in-vehicle behavior during the summer months, which likely accounts for the increased number of fatal car wrecks during the summer. According to the NHTSA, car crashes are the leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. It is important for parents to set safe driving rules and pay attention to their teenager’s activities. As a Georgia personal injury lawyer that has seen too many tragic collisions, here are seven basic rules:

1. Never send text messages or talk on a cell phone while driving. Talking on a cell phone while driving distracts the brain and reduces your reaction time. Using a cell phone while driving increases the risk of a crash twice as much as driving drunk.

2. Always buckle up. Approximately two thirds of teen drivers killed in automobile collisions were not wearing seatbelts.

Texting while driving, is known by prosecutors and personal injury lawyers as the new DUI/DWI. Georgia will soon become one of the 20 states that bans texting while driving. With legislation and driver education we can hopefully prevent fatal collisions like what occurred in the video above.

texting-while-driving.jpgPresuming the Governor signs off on the new legislation, it will soon be illegal to text while driving in Georgia. Personally, it seems odd we need a law to tell people to refrain from typing messages on their smartphones while operating a two ton metal box in speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour, but we do. As a Georgia personal injury lawyer, I’ve seen way too many deaths and catastrophic injuries caused by driver distractions, such as texting and talking on cell phones. I was pleased to see the Georgia Legislature address the problem.

As the recent legislative session closed, two bills passed addressing this issue. First, SB 360 (also known as the Caleb Sorohan Act) bans texting while driving. The act was named for a Georgia teen that died while texting and driving. Also passed was HB 23, which prohibits teen drivers from using a cell phone for any purpose while driving. The fine for either offense is $150.00.

As we have previously discussed on this blog, recent studies suggest driving while distracted by a cell phone increases the risk of a collision twice as much as driving while intoxicated (.08 Blood Alcohol Content). While enforcement of these laws may prove difficult at times, this is an important issue that needed to be addressed. This Legislation is a step in the right direction and hopefully many tragic collisions will be avoided.

With all the vehicles driving in and through the metro Atlanta area, auto accidents are going to happen. Unfortunately, some of these accidents cause injury. Georgia personal injury lawyers that handle these types of cases have observed that the most catastrophic accidents are usually caused by impaired or seriously distracted drivers. In the picture below, the driver of the Volkswagen was reportedly using a cell phone at the time of the collision. All three people involved in the collision were killed.

A recent study suggest that driving while talking on a cell phone increases the risk of accident twice as much as driving while intoxicated (.08 Blood Alcohol Content). More public awareness on the dangers of texting and talking on cell phones while driving will hopefully lead to less deadly auto collisions in Georgia.

motorcycle 1.jpg

Contact Information