Distracted driving likely a factor in rise in deadly Georgia car crashes

Fatal Georgia car accidents have increased for the first time in nine years, and distracted driving may be one of the reasons for this uptick.

Most people in Atlanta recognize distracted driving as a dangerous habit that can lead to personal injuries and seriously harm other road users. Unfortunately, this understanding doesn't stop many motorists from engaging in this risky behavior. According to recent reports, fatal car crashes are on the rise in Georgia, and driver inattention is likely one of the factors behind this deadly development.

Alarming accident rates

Earlier this year, WABE News reported that car accident fatalities in Georgia were on pace to increase for the first time in nine years. During the first quarter of 2015, the number of known fatalities exceeded the number reported during the first quarter of 2014 by 25 percent. Recently, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution stated that 1,182 deaths had occurred this year, exceeding the 1,170 deaths that were recorded during all of last year.

Impacts of distracted driving

Local officials have pointed to distracted driving as one likely reason for this increase in serious motor vehicle accidents. According to WJCL News, distraction was reportedly a factor in about three-quarters of the accidents that had occurred as of Oct. 20, 2015. Many of these crashes were single-car accidents in which the vehicle departed the road or struck an object. However, in some cases, the inattention of negligent drivers may have harmed other road users as well.

Studies based on national crash data suggest that distracted driving is becoming more common and dangerous. According to Business Insider, the National Safety Council estimated earlier this year that drivers talking on cell phones are now involved in 21 percent of all car accidents. Texting drivers play a part in another 6 percent of car crashes. Overall, drivers who are using cell phones contribute to over one-quarter of accidents, which represents an increase over past years.

A growing problem

Unfortunately, inattentive driving may only become more common as drivers grow accustomed to using hands-free cell phones and in-car systems. National Public Radio notes that research indicates these devices can still cause severe distraction. One recent study shows that this distraction may linger for up to 27 seconds after drivers stop using hands-free technology. Troublingly, though, many motorists overlook these risks or even view this technology as safe.

Seeking recourse

Given the reckless nature of distracted driving, the victims of distraction-related accidents may have legal recourse. People who suffer injuries while driving for work or personal purposes may be able to make personal injury claims against the at-fault driver. However, proving that an accident happened because a driver was distracted or otherwise acting negligently may be challenging. Seeking the assistance of an attorney may be advisable for victims with concerns about documenting the accident or navigating other aspects of the claim process.