Distracted Driving Awareness

Curbing Distracted Driving in Georgia & Tennessee

Distracted driving accidents cause the deaths of at least eight individuals per day in the U.S., according to the National Safety Council (NSC). A significant number of Pritchard Injury Firm’s motor vehicle accidents and catastrophic injury cases in Tennessee and North Georgia are caused by distracted and reckless driving.

April marks National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in the U.S. Let’s explore what constitutes distracted driving, and tips to prevent distracted driving in North Georgia and Tennessee.

Defining Distracted Driving

What exactly is distracted driving? According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), it encompasses “any activity that diverts a driver's attention from the road.” This includes actions like talking or texting on a phone, eating and drinking, conversing with passengers, and adjusting the stereo or navigation system. Ultimately, any action that diverts focus from safe driving can be distracting.

Traffic safety experts classify distractions into three main types: Manual, Visual, and Cognitive.

  • Manual distractions are those where you move your hands from the wheel.
  • Visual distractions are those where you focus your eyes away from the road.
  • A cognitive distraction is when your mind wanders from the task of driving.

You are considered distracted if your hands, eyes, ears or mind need to be occupied elsewhere.

Who Are The Victims Of Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving endangers the driver and also poses a grave threat to other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and workers.

The NHTSA reported that in 2022, there were 621 nonoccupants (pedestrians, pedal cyclists, and others) killed in distraction-affected traffic crashes in the U.S. That is more than one per day.

Furthermore, if an accident occurs while the driver is on the job, it can have costly consequences for their employer as well, in the form of lost productivity and personal injury claims.

Texting and Cell Use: The Top Distractions

Distracted driving comes in many forms, but texting and cell phone use while driving has become the most prevalent type. Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Drivers need to face this problem honestly and demonstrate restraint in order to solve it.

Georgia and Tennessee both have handheld phone bans and text messaging bans for drivers, but not everyone follows the laws. A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that more than 84% of drivers recognize the danger from cell phone distractions and find it “unacceptable” that drivers text or send an email while on the road. Nevertheless, 36% of these same people admit to having read or sent a text message or e-mail while driving in the previous month.

The idea that the rules won’t apply to us needs to stop if we want to decrease distracted driving injuries and related personal injury claims in North Georgia and Tennessee.

What The Data Tells Us

The NHTSA just released fatality and injury crash data from 2022 on distracted driving to kick off Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The national numbers are staggering.

  • 3,308 people were killed by distracted driving.
  • 368 fatal traffic crashes reported as having cellphone use as a distraction (12% of all distraction-affected fatal traffic crashes).
  • 402 people died in crashes involving at least one driver who was engaged in cellphone-related activities.
  • 193 teens aged 15 to 19 were killed in distraction-affected traffic crashes.
  • 218 teen drivers aged 15 to 19 were involved in fatal traffic crashes who were distracted.

How You Can Prevent Distracted Driving in North Georgia and Tennessee

To combat distracted driving, the NHTSA strongly advises drivers to never take their eyes off the road for more than a moment. Additionally, you can:

  • Use hands-free settings for your GPS or mobile device.
  • Secure your device so that it is not rolling or moving while you drive.
  • Avoid smoking and eating while driving.
  • Make sure passengers do not disturb the driver, especially with loud noises or by touching them.
  • Beware of certain songs and playlists. This may sound odd, but Onstar.com notes that songs conjuring special memories – good or bad – might provoke a cognitive distraction.

These simple yet crucial steps can make a significant difference in preventing accidents and personal injury claims and ensure the safety of everyone on the road.

#DistractedDrivingAwarenessMonth Is In Full Effect in April 2024

Employers can also participate in the NHTSA’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month to keep their drivers and the public safe by hosting educational courses and encouraging employees to pledge to #justdrive.

NHTSA’s Put the Phone Away or Pay campaign coincides with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, running April 1 through April 8, 2024. The national enforcement mobilization period begins April 4. Fines and penalties will be heightened during this time.

Drivers in North Georgia and Tennessee must consider their own distracted driving habits and how it impact road safety. By doing so, and also pledging to #justdrive, we can ensure everyone reaches their destinations safely.

Your GA/TN Personal Injury Lawyer

Filing a personal injury claim quickly after an accident and consulting with an injury lawyer in North Georgia or Tennessee will help maximize the value of your physical, mental, and property damages.

Pritchard Injury Firm is here to provide the compassionate legal and emotional support you deserve. Contact Pritchard Injury Firm for a free consultation.


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