Georgia motorists should avoid using their smartphones while they are driving. They may put themselves and others at risk, and when they are distracted by their phones, they are less likely to be able to drive defensively in response to other distracted drivers.
Overall, traffic fatalities are on the rise. Since 2007, deaths on the road had been declining, but in 2015, traffic fatalities increased. Preliminary figures for 2016 showed this trend continuing. Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2015, deaths caused by distracted drivers increased faster than those caused by drivers who were speeding or who were drunk or fatigued.
As driving becomes more dangerous, driving defensively becomes critical. Defensive driving requires a series of complex observations and decisions. A driver must always be scanning the area for potential hazards. After anticipating and identifying likely hazards, the driver must then note which hazards are actual, which ones needs responding to, and what that response will be. This process can be disrupted if the driver is glancing away from the road in order to look at a smartphone. One example of a hazard a driver might anticipate is another driver not stopping when a green light changes to red. Another might be a pedestrian who is using a smartphone and steps out into traffic.
In addition to other drivers and pedestrians, passengers, cyclists and motorcyclists are all at risk from distracted drivers. In an accident, they might sustain serious injuries that could be costly and prevent them from returning to work. They might expect a settlement from the insurance company to cover these costs, but if the compensation offered is not enough, they may want to speak to an attorney about negotiating with the insurance company or filing a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist.