I often wonder if my hit-and-run driver was texting:
In 2017, 1,549 people died in automobile accidents in the State of Georgia. Sixty percent of those accidents were single car accidents, according to the Georgia DOT. Most often, these are situations where the driver was distracted by something in the car, like the radio or even more commonly, a cell phone or smartphone. This means that nearly 700 people died in accidents where distracted driving could have played a role when they were not the distracted driver, not to mention the over 900 people that may have been killed as a result of their own distracted driving. Additionally, over 50 percent of all individuals killed were not wearing their seatbelts.
Everyone has seen another driver on the road, looking down at their phone, completely ignoring the situation around them. Most people have also probably been guilty of doing the same thing. But even though these distractions may seem short, realize that at 60 miles per hour, you will travel 88 feet in one second, meaning that every time you look down at your phone, even just briefly, you will have traveled the length of 1/3 of a football field.
Despite these statistics, distracted driving continues to be a problem, and it continues to cause injuries and death. Do not become a statistic yourself. Keep your phone out of sight while driving. Turn on “Do Not Disturb” mode. If your vehicle has a way to connect to your phone for calls and audio, do that before you begin driving, and only use the hands-free connection for calls if you absolutely must. No phone call or text message is worth injury or death. And always wear your seat belt.
If, however, despite your best efforts, you or a loved one is involved in an automobile accident resulting in injury or death, you need to make sure that your rights are protected and that any individual who is at fault is held responsible for their actions – whether distracted driving or otherwise.
“Distracted driving is such an unnecessary cause of car accident deaths,” said Cade Parian, a partner with The Parian Law Firm, a West Georgia Personal Injury Law Firm. “Every driver is responsible for their own actions, and for acting in a manner that doesn’t pose a danger to the others on the road. These deaths show that not everyone follows that rule – but that’s why we have laws designed to hold someone that acts in that manner responsible.”