Distracted driving isn’t anything new. However, the increased use of mobile devices makes it a more serious issue. Georgia passed the Hands-Free Act in 2018, but statistics show that accidents still happen when people aren’t focused on their driving.
Overview of distracted driving
Distracted driving is performing any act that takes attention from the road when operating a motor vehicle. Data from the National Safety Council shows texting and driving is the most common distraction, causing about 26% of vehicle crashes. Texting and driving is a type of manual distraction because it takes the driver’s hands off the wheel.
A visual distraction takes a driver’s eyes from the road, such as talking to others or checking the GPS. An auditory distraction is a distracting sound, such as talking or loud music and a cognitive distraction makes the mind wander.
Current distracted driving statistics
Distracted driving accounts for an average of 3,000 deaths per year and caused about 287,000 crashes with injuries in 2019. A driver going 55 MPH while texting and driving can cover an entire football field in under five seconds.
While not illegal in most cases, drinking and eating while operating a motor vehicle causes 9% of crashes. Crashes commonly occur within three seconds of the distraction, and it takes 13 seconds to refocus after using a mobile phone.
Figures reveal the age group with the most distracted driving crashes are 20 to 29-year-olds, compared to 9% for 15 to 19-yr-olds. However, older teens are more prone to texting and emailing than younger teens, with the highest rates among 18-year-olds.
Drivers should make an effort to avoid distracted driving crashes for safety and to avoid fines. A first offense for distracted driving in Georgia is $50, and injured parties may seek damages against at-fault drivers.