Put the Phone Away: Don’t Be a Distracted Driver in Georgia - Scott A. Pryor, Attorney at Law, LLC
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      Scott is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and is listed in the top 1% of trial attorneys in the nation by the Litigator Awards. He is also a member of Super Lawyers, National Trial Lawyers, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association—Champion Level and sits on the Communications Committee of GTLA, and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

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      J. J. Timmons graduated from Mercer Law School in 2000. He spent many years thereafter doing insurance defense work in general liability and workers’ compensation for several insurance companies and a major automobile manufacturer. He eventually realized that he was working on the wrong side and has been representing plaintiffs and injured workers for the last seven years. Timmons joined Scott Pryor Law in 2015 and specializes in personal injury and worker’s compensation cases.

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Put the Phone Away: Don’t Be a Distracted Driver in Georgia

When you see other vehicles changing lanes without a signal, or swerving over the line, there is a good chance they are distracted. Driving takes a great deal of your attention and the more distracted you are, the higher your risk is to get into an accident. On a national level, there are more than 1,000 vehicle accident injuries each day due to distracted driving. Many states are taking measures to prevent distracted driving accidents, and Georgia is no exception.

The Hands-Free Georgia Act

On July 1, 2018 a Georgia House Bill (HB 673 ) passed pursuant to 40-6-241(c) which states that no driver shall operate a vehicle while holding or supporting any type of telecommunications device; while writing or sending any text-based communication, or while watching any type of video.  Penalties include loss of points on drivers license and fines. And while this is a great start, the law does not prohibit you from actually talking on the phone via an earpiece or microphone. Most would agree that any talking at all is itself a distraction.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that may divert the driver’s attention away from driving. These are broken down into three types: manual, visual, and cognitive.

Manual Distraction

This is when you physically move one or both hands from the wheel.  A common reason for this is if someone is eating or drinking. You could also be smoking cigarettes or even just adjusting the car mirrors.

Visual Distraction

This is when your eyes wander off the road.  An example would be if you are trying to read directions while you drive. Also common is if you are changing your radio station or adjusting your temperature gauges.

Cognitive Distraction

This is when your mind emotionally drifts or wanders from the road. An example would be if you are talking to another passenger or thinking about something that upsets you. Another example is if you are under the influence of a substance.

How do I avoid being distracted?

Here are some tips on how to avoid distracted driving.

  • Always keep your eyes on the road.
  • Keep your phone out of your own reach.
  • Don’t take any phone calls, hands-free or not.
  • Don’t reach for any items.
  • If you need to read directions, pull over.
  • Adjust your mirrors before driving
  • Stay focused on the road.

How can I prove that the other driver was distracted?

Authorities can prove a driver was texting or talking during the time of an accident by simply looking at the call log. Even if a driver erases the data on his or her phone, the police will ascertain records from the cellular company in question and so any cover-up efforts are futile.

Can I seek compensation if injured by a distracted driver?

In Georgia, there are a couple of things you have to prove in order to win a personal injury lawsuit against a distracted driver.

You as the plaintiff must prove:

  • The distracted driver owed you a duty;
  • The distracted driver breached the duty owed; and
  • Your injuries were caused by the distracted driver’s actions

To explain this further, a driver in Georgia owes a duty to all other people to drive reasonably in any given circumstance. If a driver becomes distracted and causes an accident, then that duty is breached. This makes the distracted driver liable for the injuries.If won, your personal injury lawsuit will take care of lost wages, hospital bills, pain and suffering, damage to vehicles, etc.. The bottom line is that a distracted driver is a dangerous driver and potentially a negligent driver. If you have been injured in a vehicle accident by a distracted driver, you must call a qualified personal injury attorney and discuss your options. You may be eligible for compensation and a lawyer will see to it your rights are protected.

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