DISTRACTIONS WHEN DRIVING
There are 3 primary kinds of distractions:
- Visual: looking somewhere besides the road
- Physical: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: taking your focus away of driving
The different ways that an driver can be distracted are all very dangerous. In terms of visual distractions, average time your eyes are off the road while texting is 5 seconds— traveling at 55mph, that is enough time to cover the length of a football field, except you are essentially doing it while blindfolded. Texting receives so much attention because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, so it is by far the most alarming distraction.
GEORGIA LAWS ON DISTRACTED DRIVING
Since 2010, Georgia has specifically banned texting while driving, and for good reason: click here to see why.
The law in Georgia is very broad, and states in part that “a driver… shall not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle….” While texting while driving gets most of the media attention, many other activities can distract a driver and cause crashes:
- Reaching for an object
- Looking at something outside the vehicle
- Reading things on a phone, a tablet, or printed materials
- Grooming and putting on makeup
- Talking on the phone
- Talking to passengers
- Eating and drinking
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video or movie
- Changing the radio
- Tending to children in the backseat
- Texting or emailing
In fact, reaching for a moving object increases the risk of crashing by 9 times; looking at something outside the vehicle increased the risk by 3.7 times; reading and using a hand-held GPS each increase the risk by 3 times; and talking on a phone increases the risk by 1.3 times.
HOW TO PROVE A DRIVER WAS DISTRACTED
Proving an at-fault driver was distracted is not easy. Most times, the injured person has no idea what the other driver was doing prior to the crash (because the injured person was paying attention to the road as he should). There are some common ways to learn if a driver was distracted:
- The driver admits it: this does not happen often, but some drivers will be honest at say they were doing something that distracted them at the time of the crash.
- Witness testimony: witnesses can sometimes provide information to show that a driver was distracted—usually, the more egregious the conduct the more likely a witness is to stay at the scene and tell police what he saw.
- Examining the contents of the car: looking at the items in the car can help prove a driver was distracted. For example, if after a crash makeup is thrown about inside of the at-fault driver’s car, that may very well lead a jury to conclude the driver was putting on makeup and distracted.
- Cell phone records: obtaining the driver’s cell phone records will help demonstrate that he was distracted. In order to get the records, the lawyer must find out the driver’s cell phone number and service provider. The lawyer must also act quickly, because some providers to do retain records for very long.
- Video evidence: nowadays, cameras are all around—on street signs, traffic signals, businesses, and police cars. It is possible that video will show the driver was distracted.
Part of your lawyer’s job is to learn everything about your case—every fact, every detail, everything—and this includes whether the at-fault driver was distracted. Mike Rafi will investigate every possible avenue that will increase the value of your case, including whether the other driver was distracted. Mike’s dedicated to maximizing the value of each case he works on, so contact him now.