Road fatalities in the United States rose for the second consecutive year in 2017. This increase is due, in part, to cell phone usage and distracted driving. In particular, texting while driving is a serious danger, contributing to a 5.6 percent increase in road deaths in the United States between 2015 and 2017.
According to the official statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), mobile phones cause only 1.4 percent of traffic deaths, but many activists who work to prevent the deadly rise of distracted driving believe these figures are inaccurate. These activists argue that the true figure is probably closer to 4 or 5 percent, and the disparity is caused by the difficulty in confirming that the accident was a result of texting while driving.
The Stoddard Firm has years of experience with this kind of case, and we’ll be able to tell you whether your case has a chance of winning. Contact us today at 678-RESULTS.
The Distracted Driving Problem in Georgia
While traffic deaths have risen by 5.6 percent nationwide, the spike in road fatalities in Georgia has been even sharper. Between 2014 and 2016, highway fatalities in Georgia rose by a third, and as a result, there has been a growing push for the state government to take action on the distracted driving problem.
In early January 2018, Smyrna became the first city in the state to pass a hands-free driving law. The law requires drivers to keep their phones out of their hands while driving within city limits. Law enforcement officers and others have criticized the law for being difficult to enforce—because the law allows “one touch” for purposes like navigating GPS or answering a phone call. These officers argue that the law as written is unenforceable, because it’s so difficult for an officer to tell whether someone is answering a phone call or texting, for example.
Lawmakers in Smyrna hope their new law will put pressure on the state government to pass a distracted driving law for all of Georgia. They hope this new legislation will help keep drivers in Georgia safe.
How Can We Reduce Distracted Driving?
Aside from government legislation, phone and car manufacturers are also working on a set of new features that will be able to reduce the amount of distracted driving deaths.
Phone manufacturers have released a set of features and apps that reduce the urge to answer the phone. Most of these features and apps have roughly the same functions. Apple’s new Do Not Disturb While Driving mode (DND) blocks notifications from incoming calls and texts while your car is in motion. Most other phone manufacturers have similar apps available, along with some more involved applications aimed at reducing distracted driving among teens.
Auto manufacturers have a few new automated features that will reduce the risk of accidents from distracted driving. These features include Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, and Lane Keeping Assist. While some argue that these features only enable drivers to get by with paying less attention to the road, early indications seem to be that these features will help reduce accident frequency.
Preventing Distracted Driving
It’s good that the government and the manufacturers are working on the problem. Of course, the best solution is for individual drivers to resist the urge of checking their phones and becoming distracted. It can be annoying to have a notification waiting, but it’s not worth the risk to check that notification while driving.
What to do if you’ve been injured in an accident
If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident, you should first seek medical attention. You should also make sure you contact authorities. If your injuries were the result of neglect by another party, you should seek legal assistance. The Stoddard Firm has years of experience handling accident injuries, and we even offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Call us at 678-RESULTS.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. Many wrongful death and personal injury cases are settled before they go to court. However, it is our experience that the most successful cases are built as if they are going to court. Our firm prepares every case to go all the way to trial, even if it is ultimately resolved before the trial starts.
Why is an attorney important in a personal injury case?
Personal injury law can be complex, and filing a successful claim can require a great deal of time, effort and experience. A lawsuit often involves several other parties, including defendants, insurance companies and other attorneys. There are also many procedural rules that must be followed. Having experienced, skilled legal representation maximizes your chances of success.
How do I pick the right attorney?
You’ll want to look for several qualities when choosing who will represent you. Your attorney should meet with you instead of sending an investigator, and he/she should be available throughout the process instead of having you consistently talk to a legal assistant. Your attorney should have a low number of cases so he/she can devote significant time to you and your case. Your attorney should have experience handling cases with facts similar to yours, and your attorney should have a proven track record with similar claims. Your attorney should also be able to devote significant money to your case so that he/she can hire experts, travel the country finding witnesses, and depose whomever is necessary to achieve justice. It’s also important to make sure your attorney is the right fit on a personal level, which is why you should take advantage of a free consultation.
How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?
There is a time limit on how long a person has after an injury to begin a lawsuit. This window is called a statute of limitations. For most personal injury cases in Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years from the time the injury was suffered. However, there are exceptions and subtleties that might change the amount of time you are afforded. Sometimes the period can be as short as 6 months, and other times it can be much longer than two years. Determining the statute of limitations requires a detailed analysis of the facts of your case.
What do I need to bring with me to the consultation?
For your free consultation, bring all relevant documents that you’ve collected regarding your case. If there are police reports, bills or correspondence from insurance companies, you’ll want to bring those items to the consultation so an attorney can learn as much about your case as possible.