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Marietta Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Texting and driving: the grim facts

Spreading awareness about the dangers of distracted driving is one matter; practicing safety while driving is another one entirely. Countless Georgia residents can admit to driving distracted at least once in their lives; most would not think twice about sending a quick text while stopped at a red light. The statistics, however, shed light on inherent dangers of this driving habit, and reveal that they are not as risk-free as some might assume.

Using a recent study, cycling enthusiast magazine Ice Bike shares that over 3,000 people die each day as a result of a car accident. Of the 2.5 million people in the country who become involved in road accidents each year, 1.6 million also involve cell phones. Unfortunately, so many of these accidents could have been prevented. Ice Bike is hardly the first to mention the dangers that come along with today's era of technology: mobile phones have allowed for quicker networking, but also can lead to more hazardous driving. Ice Bike considers texting and driving to be an epidemic deserving of nationwide attention, stating that more states should adopt texting and driving laws to protect its citizens.  

New car gadgets and distracted driving

Distracted driving is a phrase most Georgia drivers are familiar with, especially with today's increasingly accessible technology in cars. With smart phone holders, USB chargers and dash cams being some of the hottest commodities in today's market, it is easy to see how some drivers could get carried away with the gadgets and spend minimal attention toward an aspect of driving that they should be aware of most: the road. Are these new technologies really that dangerous, and, if so, are there specific ones to watch out for? 

Road and Track Magazine appears to give an affirmative answer to the aforementioned question. In an article on the most dangerous driving habits, the automotive enthusiast outlet notes that driving tired, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and distracted driving are among the riskiest habits. Quoting statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the article reveals that there are an average of 660,000 distracted drivers keeping the road hot at any given time. Road and Track goes as far as to encourage readers to shut off their cell phones completely while driving, backing the federal government's attempts to ban texting and driving over recent years. 

Impaired driving among truckers

Among the many risks that you face when taking to the road in Georgia is being hit by a drunk driver or a drugged driver. When this impaired driver happens to be a commercially licensed driver operating a large and heavy vehicle like a tractor trailer, the consequences of an accident can be gruesome and tragic to say the least. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the arm of the federal government tasked with monitoring commercial transportation nationwide and maintaining public safety.

The FMCSA has developed what it calls its Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse in an effort to curb and ideally eliminate instances of drugged or drunk driving by truckers. The clearinghouse is essentially a database repository of testing and violation records for drivers with commercial driving licenses. The program requires that truckers submit to substance testing before they can be hired for a driving job. The results of these tests are logged to the database. Failure of a test may prevent them from being able to drive commercially.

States considers ban on handheld phone use for drivers

Many decades ago, residents in Georgia began hearing a lot about the dangers of drunk driving thanks to the public advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving and others like it that have since been formed. Today, society faces yet another serious risk on the roads that has yet to receive the level of scrutiny that drunk driving has. That risk is distracted driving. Sadly it appears that it requires more people to keep dying before something is done about this growing threat.

The Georgia Department of Transportation released traffic fatality numbers that show significant increases between 2014 and 2015 and also between 2015 and 2016. In that two-year span of time, the state saw the number of vehicular deaths rise from 1,170 in 2014 to 1,561 in 2016. How many of those deaths may be linked to the use of cell phones, GPS devices or other electronic devices is not known yet that is not stopping lawmakers from pushing to pass a new distracted driving bill.

Vehicular fatalities increase in Georgia

Every year automotive manufacturers release new models of their vehicles and sometimes even new vehicles altogether that drivers in Georgia and around the nation often eagerly await. These new vehicle introductions may offer improvements on prior years' models in many categories including safety. Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace and many of these innovations offer the opportunity for vehicles to become safer. Sadly, as vehicle safety may be improving, more people are dying on Georgia's roads.

According to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2016 marked a particularly deadly year across the state with 1,554 total vehicular fatalities. That is a significant jump over the 1,432 deaths the prior year and the 1,164 deaths in 2014. In fact, the state has not seen that many deaths since 2007 when more than 1,600 people were killed in auto wrecks.

Are Georgia's distracted driving laws tough enough?

If you have been driving in Georgia over the past several years, you have likely heard people talk about distracted driving. Certainly this action seems to center around the use of cell phones when behind the wheel and specifically sending or receiving text messages while driving. Many groups have conducted research that shows this type of behavior puts innocent lives at risk. This is why the state of Georgia has clear distracted driving laws. But, are those laws tough enough?

According to the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, it is expressly illegal for any driver to text and drive at the same time. It is also illegal for any driver who is 16 or 17 years old to use a cell phone in any capacity while driving. A person who is found guilty of violating either of these laws may have one point added to their driving record. Compared to the penalties for drinking and driving, this does not seem very compelling.

Questions surround cause of fatal school bus accident

Georgia residents who put their children in the safety of school administrators and employees should always know they are safe. This includes knowing that kids are safe when riding on a school bus to and from school or to and from school activities like field trips or extracurricular events. Sadly, crashes involving school buses can happen at any time and many things may be involved in the circumstances.

A tragic example of a school bus wreck happened recently in a very small community situated about an hour away from Savannah. A man in a passenger vehicle was driving along a road early one morning and saw a school bus that had come to a stop after hitting a tree head-on. He stopped to help the young children and discovered the driver in poor condition and one child dead. The little girl who died was only five years old. Another 21 students were taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Is there an underlying culprit to distracted driving?

In today's exciting technological era, new gadgets are quickly replaced by newer ones. With more accuracy, higher speeds and the appeal of connectivity, it comes as no surprise that technology dominates many areas of life. Yet by the same token, there are just as many concerns as there are praises. One of those concerns is the issue of distractedness. While Georgia officials worry over the climbing number of accidents due to cell phone use, could the real distraction be car gadgets themselves?

The New York Post seems to join in this concern. In an October 2017 article, they considered the ways that technology has contributed to distracted driving and, using a study from the University of Utah, concluded that some gadgets should not be used while driving at all. The reason? The amount of time that drivers take to tend to information systems such as SatNav is far too long to drive safely. Other activities, including programming navigation devices, adjusting audio entertainment and simply receiving text messages can contribute to distracted driving. The data from the study showed that devices such as SatNav may actually be more dangerous than texting and driving. Needless to say, the irony here is clear: despite efforts to make driving safer, these gadgets can ultimately compromise one's safety practices while on the road.

Georgia's auto fatality realities

Georgia residents who are concerned about their safety and the safety of their loved ones on the road have reason to worry. Even as automobile manufacturers continue to improve the safety features included in new vehicles, including collision prevention features, many innocent people are killed in car accidents every year.

According to records provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the state of Georgia has experienced significant increases in the number of people killed in vehicle wrecks for the past two years in a row. In 2014, there were 1,164 deaths on the roads and highways of Georgia. The following year there were 1,432 vehicular deaths and in 2016 that number increased again to 1,554. 

Truckers experience burnout, too

Fatigue is a common issue among working Americans, especially those who work long hours with little time for other activities. Burnout has long been identified as an evolution of tiredness and continues to draw concern on behalf of health care professionals. While overwork is not ideal in any occupation, truck drivers and burnout in Georgia are a particularly deadly mix. 

Psychology Today lists some of the tell-tale signs of burnout and how to identify those signs, noting that a large majority of professionals experience pressure from colleagues and bosses to complete work to nearly inhuman measures. As a result, chronic stress (otherwise known as burnout) settles in and can lead to a number of health complications. Some common concerns include emotional and physical exhaustion, feelings of uselessness and total detachment. Many truck drivers face long and grueling hours on the road, often without needed breaks. Regardless of the level of exhaustion, Psychology Today warns readers that prolonged burnout can result in serious health issues in the future.

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