It has been just over two years since Georgia enacted a ban on the use of handheld cellphones while driving. It is now among about 25 states to have adopted hands-free laws. Legislation like this is very necessary, as studies show that using a cellphone while driving can make someone up to four times more likely to be involved in a car accident.
Unfortunately, the law may not be changing driver behavior as much as one would hope. According to a recent article in the Augusta Chronicle, law enforcement in Georgia has issued nearly 50,000 cellphone citations over the past two years. And because many drivers are adept at hiding their behavior, the number of cited drivers is likely far lower than the number of drivers who are distracted by their phones.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that distracted driving crashes kill nine people each day and injure 1,000 more. And even though these numbers are staggeringly high, they may not reflect the true scope of the problem. The bottom line is that distracted driving is among the most significant driving hazards Americans face, and it is an entirely preventable problem.
If you’ve been injured in a crash with a distracted driver, it’s important to understand your rights and legal options. Perhaps your most powerful option is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Even if Georgia didn’t have laws banning handheld cellphone use while driving, you could still bring a case. All drivers owe a duty of care to other travelers on the road. Specifically, we are responsible for driving in a manner that minimizes the risk of injury and death to others. Everyone is aware of the risks posed by distracted driving. Someone who chooses to drive distracted regardless of knowing the risks has breached their duty of care.
The costs associated with car accidents are far higher than nearly any of us can afford on our own – especially if the crash results in significant injury. For this and other reasons, individuals who have been injured by distracted drivers need to seek full and fair compensation from the at-fault driver with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.