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Marietta Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

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.

Common causes of truck driver exhaustion

Everyday workers are not the only types of individuals in Georgia who suffer from exhaustion while driving; truckers are also known to operate their vehicles while not completely alert. Long shifts are typically the first to blame in such situations, but is there another exhaustion factor at play?

Of course, accidents are the main concern when it comes to driving while tired. CVN News announced a safe driver event currently taking place in Georgia to help spread awareness of cautious driving practices. An annual traffic enforcement initiative, the Safe Driver Week focuses on identifying unsafe driving practices with the hopes of reducing the number of accidents on the road. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance sponsors the event that also extends its reach to large trucks and buses. During this week specifically, motor carrier compliance officers will pay special attention to drivers who are texting, driving fatigued, distracted or aggressive -- and will not hesitate to issue citations to drivers.

Distracted driving accounts for 80 percent of crashes

Distracted driving in Georgia and throughout the U.S. has been in the spotlight for several years, and most drivers are aware that cellphone use while driving creates a hazard. Many states have banned texting while driving, and Georgia is one of them. According to the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, the state bans texting among all drivers, as well as cellphone use by teen drivers. 

Distractions cause 80 percent of the accidents on American roads, and drivers involved in these crashes were all participating in distracting activities within three seconds of the accident. During a one-year period, researchers tracked the drivers of 100 vehicles. In that year, there were 241 drivers of these cars and together, they logged a total of two million miles. During the same period, these drivers engaged in more than 42,000 hours of distracting activities. This group had 82 accidents, along with 761 near-misses. There are another 8,296 "critical incidents."

Eating behind the wheel is a form of distracted driving

When you think about drivers in Marietta who are distracted, you probably automatically think about cell phones and other electronic devies as being the cause. However, food and drink are also huge sources of distraction behind the wheel. At Sams, Larkin, Huff & Balli, LLP, we know how serious crashes caused by distracted drivers can be.

Anything that takes your eyes off of the road for even a second can be considered a distraction. According to Decide to Drive, your chances of being in an accident go up 80 percent if you are eating while driving. While no food is a safe bet, certain types of foods are especially dangerous to consume while driving. Things that make your hands dirty or sticky, like doughnuts, fried chicken or candy, pose a major risk. Hot items like coffee and soup are also a bad idea.

What can I do to stay safe when driving near large trucks?

Anyone who has been on the road in Marietta next to a giant 18-wheel tractor-trailer knows how scary it can be. Trucks are much larger and much heavier than your passenger vehicle and it can be intimidating knowing that the odds are stacked against you should an accident occur. Here are some tips for handling yourself when you are forced to share the road with trucks.

While large vehicles typically have many mirrors so that the driver can see, visibility is always going to be better on the side the driver is on. Therefore, Edmunds recommends always passing trucks on the left. Doing so will ensure that the driver sees you and knows you are there. If he or she tries to change lanes and you are not visible on the right side, disaster may result.

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