Within the next couple of weeks, nearly every school in Savannah will be starting the new school year. Thus, it seems a fitting time to remind young drivers (and their parents) of the large number of accidents due to distracted driving primarily from cell phone use.
In 2013, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation –
- 3,154 people were killed and an estimated, additional 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers;
- 10% of all fatal crashes, 18% of injury crashes and 16% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes; and
- 10% of all drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes.
In both 2014 and 2015, data compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation found that handheld cell phone use was higher among female drivers than male drivers and highest among 16-24 year old drivers.
Recently, I have handled several bodily injury claims in Savannah in which my clients were injured as a direct result of cell phone related distracted driving. In several instances, the at-fault driver admitted to talking or texting on a cell phone, and in one case the driver admitted to looking down while trying to locate a dropped cell phone in the floorboard of his vehicle.
While Georgia has banned text messaging for all drivers, it currently allows the use of handheld communication devices to make phone calls while driving (except school bus drivers and drivers under 18 years old with few exceptions). (There is pending legislation in Georgia, House Bill 163, which seeks to extend the prohibition against using cell phone to make calls to all drivers).
Thus, even though talking on a cell phone while driving is not illegal in most instances in Georgia, the Department of Transportation recommends that drivers:
- Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
- Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
- If your driver uses an electronic device while driving, offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
- Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against other unsafe drivers.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of someone else’s distracted driving and you would like to discuss your personal injury claim, contact Bass Law to schedule your free, no obligation consultation with Attorney Dondra Bass O’Neal. You may contact us directly through this website or by calling 912-344-4294.