Distracted driving in Georgia

Distracted driving is becoming a serious danger on the road in Georgia, putting countless innocent people at risk every day.

Over the years, cell phones have become part of everyday life for most people in Georgia. There are many positive things people enjoy about smartphones including convenience and social connections. However, there is a danger that these devices pose to Georgians when they are used at the wrong times and in the wrong places. These wrong times and places include when people are driving vehicles.

What are Georgia's laws concerning cell phones and driving?

According to the Governor's Highway Safety Association, drivers 17 years old and younger are banned from any use of phones while behind the wheel. The same is also true for school bus drivers. All other drivers, however, are still allowed to talk on their phones while driving as they are only banned from texting when driving.

Are Georgia's laws strict enough?

Certainly any effort to curb distraction while driving is important and positive. However, Distraction.gov points out that distracted driving is about a whole lot more than just texting while driving. Using a GPS-based navigation system on a phone, standalone device or integrated into a vehicle can easily take a driver's attention, eyes and hands away from driving. Using a radio, talking on the phone or to passengers, eating and more are other forms of distractions for drivers .

Those distractions like texting that require cognitive, visual and manual actions be diverted from driving are the most dangerous. However, even actions that involve only one form of distraction can open up risk to innocent people. Therefore, banning only texting may not protect Georgians as much as they need.

What about ignition interlock devices?

Intoxalock explains that Georgia law may require drivers convicted of drunk driving offenses may have to use ignition interlock devices. These take breath samples from drivers before they can drive and also while they are driving. Called rolling retests, these are allowed without stopping. Devices have display screens which must be read, requiring visual attention from a driver. They must be held, requiring hands be taken off the wheel. They also require mental attention. One cannot help but wonder how safe this penalty really is.

How many people die in distracted driving accidents?

The National Safety Council notes that in 2015, the United States experiences a sharp rise in the number of fatalities associated with distracted driving. Approximately 19,000 lives are believed to have been lost to distracted drivers.

These realities make it clear that Georgia residents need to remain aware of other drivers in order to stay safe. If involved in an accident, people should always contact an attorney for help in seeking compensation.