Distracted Driving In Georgia
Distracted driving is a nationwide problem, with the most recent available data estimating as many as 3,100 lives lost in one year due to distraction. However, too many Georgia drivers still operate under the idea that a little distraction is okay, or that an accident could never happen to them. If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, you know how false that is, and if your injuries are directly due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve a chance to hold them accountable.
Distracted driving has serious consequences, with a high fatality rate. If it causes an accident, you must be able to convince a court that the driver’s distraction amounted to negligence, which was the direct cause of your injuries. Motorists have a general duty to exercise reasonable care for the motorists around them, and if they fail to do so, that breach of duty (the defendant’s conduct or lack thereof) has to be shown to be the direct cause of your injuries, with no other intervening cause. All of the steps – duty, breach of duty, causation, and injuries – must be shown, or you cannot recover.
Keep in mind that Georgia observes a common-law doctrine called comparative fault, which means that if the plaintiff might be held responsible for his own injuries, they cannot recover. Georgia’s version, however, states that if the plaintiff could have avoided the consequences of the defendant’s negligence “by ordinary care,” they are not entitled to recover. In other cases, the defendant is still on the proverbial hook.
The Hands-Free Georgia Act
One thing to keep in mind if you have been injured is that in July 2018, Georgia passed the Hands-Free Georgia Act, which prohibits “holding, or supporting with any part of the body,” a wireless device or “stand-alone” electronic device, which would include iPods and other mp3 players. It does, however, permit certain uses of these types of devices, such as reporting a fire or a crime in progress, and it permits drivers to talk on the phone if they use a hands-free device. It also permits the wearing and use of smart watches, and using a GPS or GPS app on a phone.
This law is fairly comprehensive, and if your accident was allegedly caused by a driver on their phone, may be of help to you in establishing liability. However, distracted driving accidents do not only occur due to smartphones or GPS machines; drivers have been known to eat, put on makeup, or engage in animated conversation while trying to drive, and the Hands-Free Georgia Act does not have language designed to address these types of negligence. If your injuries stem from a driver being distracted by something other than a smartphone, you may have a harder time establishing negligence – though it is not impossible to do so.
Can A Marietta Distracted Driving Attorney Assist You Today?
Too many people still act as though being distracted on the road has no consequences. If you have been injured in an accident with someone who was distracted, you need a Marietta distracted driving attorney to help hold them accountable for their actions. The Strickland Firm can offer you knowledgeable and compassionate representation. Call our office for a free consultation.