What is The Definition of Distracted Driving?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), auto accidents caused by distracted driving claim the lives of nine people every day across the United States. That equates to more than 3,200 deaths each year that could likely have been prevented had the distracted driver been paying attention to the road.

With an increasing number of auto accidents caused by distracted driving, it is important that anyone on U.S. roadways understands just what distracted driving is. Read on to learn more about the definition of distracted driving and how to avoid putting yourself, your passengers, and others on the roadway in danger. If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, contact The Dixon Firm to learn more about your legal rights.

What is the Definition of Distracted Driving?

With such a significant focus on texting while driving, many people forget that distracted driving encompasses much more than that one behavior. In fact, the definition of distracted driving includes any activity that may cause distraction or take a driver’s focus, eyes, or mental concentration off the task of driving.

According to the U.S. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), distracted driving includes:

Most readers can relate to one or more of these activities because being in a vehicle commonly involves adjusting the radio or temperature, checking a GPS, or talking to people in the vehicle. While these activities all seem relatively harmless, they all can be distracting, and can put lives in danger.

Most readers can also recall one or more instances where they have seen other drivers engaging in unsafe behavior while driving. It is not at all uncommon to see another driver swerve, miss a stop sign or red light, or pull out into traffic without paying attention. A closer inspection may reveal that the driver was on the phone, reaching into the backseat, eating, or texting. In such cases, a distracted driver may also be a distraction that can cause accidents by onlookers.

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What is the Extent of the Distracted Driving Problem?

The DMV has called distracted driving “one of the country’s biggest health concerns”. If that in itself does not suggest the extent of the problem, let’s take a closer look at some statistics. Consider the following:

Even with these statistics highlighting a serious problem, they only scratch the surface. Many distracted driving accidents are unreported, as drivers fail to provide adequate information about distraction. With that in mind, the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths attributed to distracted driving could be much higher.

What are Distracted Driving Laws?

Many, but not all, states have implemented general laws related to distracted driving. These general laws may not address specific activities. Many states have also chosen to ban specific activities, such as texting while driving, while not addressing a more general definition of distracted driving.

On a national level, the NHTSA has been working tirelessly to educate American drivers to the dangers of distracted driving. The NHTSA has partnered with many states to implement education and legislation related to distractions. The NHTSA offers federal advice and guidance, but the ultimate decision about distracted driving laws is left up to individual states. According to the Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA), distracted driving laws currently include the following:

Georgia’s Distracted Driving Laws

Georgia’s distracted driving laws have been strict since their inception, and they continue to target specific distractions. Currently, Georgia’s distracted driving laws include:

New laws taking effect on July 1st will make Georgia’s distracted driving laws even more strict. House Bill 673 makes the following changes to Georgia law:

Find Out More about Your Rights and Responsibilities

If you have questions about Georgia law, distracted driving, or how to get help after an auto accident, contact The Dixon Firm to speak with one of our Atlanta auto accident lawyers. It is important to understand your rights and responsibilities before hitting the road.