March 10, 1876 is the day that the first phone call was ever made, and indeed, the advent of the cell phone has made life better in many ways and changed our society forever. However, no matter how truly amazing some technology is, most of the time it comes with some unintended consequences. According to the United States Department of Transportation, 3,450 people were killed in car accidents involving a distracted driver nationwide. Moreover, it is estimated that, in 2015, 391,000 people were injured in accidents that involved a distracted driver 30,000 of which involved the use of a cell phone.
The devastating thing about distracted driving statistics is most of these accidents are preventable, and despite common misconceptions, cell phones only represent a portion of the various factors that could distract a driver. Moreover, distracted driving accidents tend to be a little more complex than an average car accident, because the goal is prove that the driver was directly or indirectly distracted when the accident occured, which is usually not always clear at the time of the accident. An experienced distracted driving attorney will normally have to launch a thorough aggressive investigation into the events leading up to the accident in order to prove that the at-fault driver was indeed distracted.
What Can Cause Distracted Driving?
A lot of people associate distracted driving with talking on cell phones, texting, or the use of other types of electronic devices such as radios, and while this is a partially accurate belief, it does not encompass the full spectrum of factors that could constitute distracted driving.
What are Internal Distracted Driving Factors?
There are two categories of distracted driving factors, internal and external. Internal or “in-vehicle” distraction factors are things that occur inside the car such as:
- Talking or answering a cell phone
- Eating or drinking
- Children or friends in the passenger seat or back seat
- Adjusting the car radio or cd-player
- Adjusting other electronic devices such as ipods or mp3 players
- Adjusting rear or side mirrors
Understanding what factors could distract a driver can help you identify or at least evaluate whether a driver was distracted at the time of the accident. Moreover, it is common for people to walk around their cars after an accident to evaluate the extent of the damage done to their vehicle. So, while this is going on try your best to stay calm and scan the accident scene carefully for internal distraction factors.
Is their open food in the other car? Did the other driver put out a cigarette when they exited their vehicle? Are there children in the backseat or loud music playing? These are the type of questions you want to try and answer at the scene in order to determine if the other driver could have been distracted while driving.
What are External Distracted Driving Factors?
In contrast, external distraction factors are things that occur outside the vehicle that can distract a driver. These factors include construction work, police activity, people on the side of the road, or any other event that causes a driver not to focus on driving. Both internal and external distraction factors share a common characteristic. They cause drivers to either take their eyes off the road or to simply not pay attention to what is going on around them.
Is Distracted Driving a Form of Negligence?
When a driver causes an accident, they have committed a form of negligence. Negligence is a term commonly used in law and is defined under O.C.G.A. § 51-1-2 as a failure to exercise a degree of care that would normally be exercised by an ordinary prudent person in the same situation.
In the context of distracted driving, all drivers are aware or should be aware that you should not allow your concentration to be broken while you are driving, and an ordinary prudent driver would not engage in an activity that would detract from their ability to operate their vehicle safely. Thus, depending on the facts surrounding the accident, distracted driving can qualify as ordinary negligence, which was just discussed, or gross negligence, which is a more serious form of negligence. This is the reason that Georgia law permits drivers injured in a distracted driving accident to seek monetary damages from the at-fault driver.
Distracted Driving Lawyer in Atlanta, GA
A distracted driving accident is a serious matter that should not be approached without the advice and guidance of an experienced distracted driving accident attorney. At Cambre and Associates, our team of distracted driving lawyers are dedicated to ensuring that our clients understand their legal rights and receive the benefit of an aggressive thorough investigation into any distracted driving claim. Don’t face this difficult time alone. Call our office for a free consultation today.
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