Image courtesy of Georgia Department of Transportation.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 76% of fatalities in Georgia car accidents are caused by distracted driving behaviors. This June, during the 2020 National Safety Month, the National Safety Council is highlighting the importance of driving safely. Educating fellow Atlanta drivers on the importance of driver safety and education is a vital part of our process at The Champion Firm. Every day we work with clients in Smyrna, Vinings, Marietta and all over Georgia who are living with the heartbreaking consequences of being hit by a distracted or careless driver.

Traffic safety experts classify distractions into three main types: Manual, Visual and Cognitive.

Manual distractions are those where you move your hands from the wheel.
Visual distractions are those where you focus your eyes away from the road.
A cognitive distraction is when your mind wanders away from the task of driving.

The Champion Firm’s 6 Tips to staying Safe on Atlanta Roadways

#1 Buckle Up. Not only is it good advice but in Georgia, wearing your seatbelt is the law. Taking a few seconds to fasten your seat belt before driving will not only save your life if you get into a serious accident, but it could also save you from a ticket and driving record points that could impact your insurance rates down the road. A seatbelt citation could run anywhere from $15 – $25.

#2 Stay off your phone and other devices. Driving and texting falls into all three categories of distractions mentioned above. Over 84% of drivers recognize the danger from cell phone distractions and find it “unacceptable” that drivers text or send email while driving. However 36% of the same people surveyed admitted to having read or sent a text message or e-mail while driving as recently as in the previous month. (Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety). Bottom line, don’t text and drive.

#3 Drive Defensively. Remember those skills we practiced when we first learned to drive? Use your signals, keep both hands on the wheel, check your mirrors, watch your speed and stay alert. Following simple defensive driving techniques could save your life!

#4 Get in the habit of helping your fellow motorists by reporting hazards on the metro Atlanta highways. Call 511 to reach the Georgia Department of Traffic Operation Center on your cell phone to report debris on the roads. That request triggers an immediate dispatch of a Hero Unit that can safely remove the hazard from the road reducing traffic congestion and potentially saving lives. Make sure you have the mile marker or exit noted! They also have a convenient app packed full of helpful information for Georgia drivers.

#5 Don’t drive tired. Sleep deprivation is real and can impact both concentration and reaction time. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving. These crashes result in more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. A surprising number of drowsy driving crashes involve a driver under the age of 25, who make up an estimated 50% or more of drowsy driving crashes.

#6 Don’t drink and drive. A Georgia DUI conviction is a serious crime with serious consequences. If it is a first-time DUI conviction, the maximum consequences are a fine of $1,000 and up to 12 months in jail. The minimum consequences are 24 hours in jail and a $300.00 fine. Over 10,000 people are killed annually in accidents in Georgia involving driving under the influence. When in doubt, take an Uber or Lyft home and keep yourself and other drivers safe.

Bonus Tip: Buying a car this summer? Make sure it has adaptive cruise control! Since 2018 most manufacturers have installed this cutting edge technology that provides an additional level of autonomous safety. Adaptive cruise control, uses forward-looking radar, installed behind the grill of a vehicle to detect the speed and distance of the vehicle ahead of it. While similar to conventional cruise control in that it maintains the vehicle’s pre-set speed, unlike conventional cruise control, this technology can automatically adjust speed in order to maintain a proper distance between vehicles in the same lane. This is achieved through a radar headway sensor, digital signal processor and longitudinal controller. If the lead vehicle slows down, or if another object is detected, the system sends a signal to the engine or braking system to decelerate. When the road is clear the system will re-accelerate the vehicle back to the set speed.

We want all Georgia Drivers to stay safe on the roads, but, if you are injured or you lose someone you love due to someone else’s negligence or distracted driving please don’t hesitate to contact us. The Champion Firm has skilled accident attorneys and is here for our neighbors and community.