Distracted Driving: Is It Really Getting Better?
Georgia’s Distracted Driving Law, The Hands-Free Georgia Act, was implemented on July 1, 2017, and according to a new study by the company TrueMotion, which collects data for insurance companies, drivers have actually put the phone down. Or, in the case of many drivers, have put the phone “up” by installing it on their dashboards or air vents. This is great news, as it means significantly fewer motorists are texting, on social media, or are recording themselves in Snapchat or Facebook.
According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the TrueMotion study revealed that cellphone use dropped by 21% after the law took effect in July. While it remains to be seen if this downward trend will continue, this preliminary news is encouraging. However, most Atlantans will tell you that on any given trip down I85, I75, 285, or I20, you might still see one or more of the following:
- A driver weaving in and out of his/her lane while trying to program an address into Waze or Google Maps
- A driver photographing the sunset, a wreck, or a particularly witty bumper sticker
- A driver going well under 70 mph while looking for the perfect tune on Spotify or Itunes
- A driver desperate to check a text or email from work
- A driver checking his/her iwatch and swerving into another lane
- Etc etc…
Despite the good news, we’re all still incredibly addicted to these tiny devices that have become extensions of our hands and of our lives.
No law is going to keep drivers from occasionally (or frequently) checking their phones. Anyone who has sat at a long red light with drivers next to them can tell you that it’s rare to not see another driver’s lowered head checking a phone. In fact, the Valdosta Daily Times suggests that, even with the new distracted driving law, “Georgia has one of the highest traffic fatality rates in the U.S.”
So what can you do to avoid becoming a distracted driver who endangers not only your own life, but the lives of those around you? Consider the following:
- Commit to making your car a true hands-free zone. Investing in a cell phone car mount or cradle is great, but commit to leaving the phone on its mount.
- Think of your drive as time to reflect and de-stress rather than catch up on work emails or texts with family and friends. Listen to a podcast or a soothing playlist, and save the responses for later.
- Invest in systems such as Apple CarPlay. Offered in newer models, this system centralizes all your needs (texting, calling, directions, audiobooks, music) into one touch panel that you can control via touch or verbal directions. That way, if you truly can’t afford to not use your car as your personal office, you have options that don’t include touching your phone.
The hard truth is that we all need to evaluate our distracted driving practices and commit to driving safer and smarter, but not all drivers will do so. If you’ve been affected by a distracted driver, give us a call. Our dedicated and seasoned personal injury lawyers can help you understand your rights and help you successfully financially recover.