What You Need to Know About Teenagers and Distracted Driving
Car crashes are the number one cause of unintentional injury deaths among teenagers in the United States, and distracted driving is one of the leading causes of many of these tragic accidents. It is important to understand the risk factors for distracted driving, so you can teach your teen to avoid them and help lower your risk of a crash.
If you or your son or daughter has been injured in an accident caused by someone else's distracted driving, the experienced Macon car accident lawyers at Roden Law may be able to help. We can discuss your legal options during a free consultation.
Distracted Driving Statistics
In 2015, 3,477 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and391,000 people were injured.. There were 3,450 people killed in distracted driving accidents in 2016. Teenage drivers had the highest percentage of fatal distracted driving crashes of any age group.
Approximately 481,000 drivers use cellphones while driving during daytime hours. Texting and driving is one of the most common forms of distracted driving and is extremely dangerous.
Sending or reading a text takes a driver’s attention off the roadway for an average of five seconds. If a teenager is traveling at 55 mph, he or she can cover the entire length of a football field during those five seconds.
Types of Distractions While Driving
Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s attention off the primary task of driving, increasing your risk of an accident.
Distractions fit into one of three categories, or a combination of the three:
- Visual distractions – These distractions involve anything that causes you to look away from the road whether it be something outside or inside the vehicle.
- Manual distractions – Manual distractions involve taking your hands off the wheel to perform non-driving activities.
- Cognitive distractions – This could be anything from speaking to a passenger in the vehicle or being deep in thought about something going on in your life.
Some forms of distracted driving involve only one type of distraction while others like texting and driving involve all three. Examples of distracted driving include:
- Talking on your phone
- Talking to people in your vehicle
- Sending or reading a text message
- Adjusting the radio or a music device
- Using a map app or a GPS navigation system
- Watching videos
- Brushing hair, doing makeup or performing other grooming activities
Teaching Your Teen to Avoid Distracted Driving
It is important that you teach your teen about the dangers of distracted driving. Many parents create a safe driving contract that spells out their expectations for driving. You may also want to have your child install a safe driving app on his or her cellphone. However, the best way to teach your kid to be a safe driver is to be a good role model and practice what you preach.
Georgia’s Distracted Driving Law
The Hands-Free Law makes it illegal for a driver to perform any of the following activities while driving:
- Holding a phone in your hand or using any body part to support the phone
- Wearing a headset or earpiece for entertainment purposes
- Sending or reading a text message, instant message or email
- Checking social media or internet content
- Recording or watching a video
- Using buttons on a music streaming app while the vehicle is in motion
The law allows drivers to use their phones to make or receive phone calls via an earpiece, electronic watch, wireless headphone, speakerphone, or vehicle system. Additionally, drivers can use their vehicle’s controls to play music or use music streaming apps. The law permits the use of GPS navigation devices as well.
Penalty for Distracted Driving
If a person violates the distracted driving law, he or she may be subject to the following penalties:
- First conviction - $50 fine, one point on a license
- Second conviction - $100 fine, addition of two points to your license
- Any further convictions - $150 fine and three points on your license
Contact a Lawyer for Assistance with Your Claim
If you were injured in a distracted driving accident, it is important that you seek qualified legal assistance to help you during this difficult time. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can investigate your case and determine if distracted driving might have played a role. We can help you determine the full extent of your damages and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.