This is a Guest Post from the law firm of Millar Mixon in Atlanta, GA.
We’ve all seen the ads directed at preventing accidents caused by distracted driving. We all know that texting is perhaps the most dangerous form of distracted driving. But, you don’t have to look far to find someone in traffic using a phone to tap out messages and send emails.
The risks associated with distracted driving, and texting while driving in particular, are real and involve more than just a potential fender bender.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, texting while driving increases your risk of having a car accident by 23 percent. The attention it requires to send a text message takes your eyes and your mind away from driving, as you careen down the road with a several-hundred pound weapon at your hands
For example, to combat these accidents and lessen the risks we all take when sharing the roads, lawmakers in Georgia have also made texting while driving punishable under criminal law.
If you are caught texting while driving, you can be hit with a $100 criminal fine. If your distracted driving is reckless enough to be called “reckless driving,” you could go to jail for the offense. A criminal charge like this can tarnish your record and increase insurance rates, not to mention be a point of embarrassment.
In 2010, an estimated 416,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver. In many of these cases, the injured party was an innocent victim, someone who wasn’t texting, talking on the phone, or being otherwise distracted, but was hurt when someone else was being less than safe.
In these cases, the injured party — who may have spent time in the hospital, undergone surgery, or endured long-term physical therapy — is forced to live with the effects of someone else’s poor judgment.
Fortunately for such a car accident victim, there are legal options.
An injured car accident victim may be entitled to recovery through civil laws. This means the person who caused the accident, through their insurance company, can be held financially responsible for the consequences of the accident, including the cost of medical bills, surgeries and time missed from work as well as compensation for pain and suffering.
All in all, the potential criminal and civil penalties that go along with texting and driving, and distracted driving in general, aren’t worth sending off that one last message. And for those of us who do mind the laws of the state, practicing safe driving procedures every time we are behind the wheel, we can rest assured that the laws are designed to protect us and keep us safe.
The Atlanta area personal injury attorneys of Millar & Mixon, LLC. are dedicated to seeking justice for the victims of area motor vehicle accidents. If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact them to discuss your legal options today.