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Can strict distracted driving laws prevent car accidents involving teen drivers?

Atlanta Car Accident Attorney

Safe driving not only takes attentiveness and caution, it takes experience. Even after months of driving school, teen drivers still don't have as much experience as those who have been driving for several years.

Also, the use of cellphones is very popular among teenagers. Since people tend to be more social during their younger years, they may want to keep in touch with friends through text messages and social media.

Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that teen drivers are more likely to use cellphones while driving than any other age group.

What is the distracted driving law?

Like many other states, Georgia has a total ban on cellphone use for all drivers. That means drivers can be pulled over and ticketed for holding or handling a cellphone. Drivers are not only prohibited from texting, but are also prohibited from all other cellphone uses.

The only exceptions are:

  • Emergency purposes, such as calling 911 and reporting crashes, fires, crimes and medical emergencies.
  • Use by law enforcement, firefighters or first responders.
  • Use by public utility workers or contractors who are reporting an emergency.

In Georgia, the handheld ban is enforced as a primary law. That means police can pull over a driver for using a cellphone without violating any other traffic laws. In states where distracted driving laws are only secondary, police can only cite drivers who are stopped for other traffic infractions.

Has the distracted driving law worked to prevent accidents involving teen drivers?

Michael R. Flaherty is a pediatric critical care physician at Mass General Hospital for Children in Boston, MA. Recently, Flaherty conducted research that found a link between strict distracted driving laws and fewer traffic fatalities involving teen drivers and passengers.

The study, which was published by the Pediatrics journal in June of 2020, compiled crash data from 2007-2017 involving drivers ages 16-19.

Flaherty first observed that only 15 states had any kind of distracted driving law in 2007. By 2017, the number of states with distracted driving laws increased to 47. During that same 10-year period:

  • States that enforced primary distracted driving laws saw significant reductions in the teen crash fatality rate.
  • States that enforced secondary distracted driving laws saw minor reductions in the teen crash fatality rate. Some improvement was shown when compared to states without any distracted driving laws.

Flaherty also makes it clear that distracted driving among teenagers can be prevented when parents set a good example. Parents who drive distracted with their kids in the car are more likely to pass that kind of behavior on to their children.

Call an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney if you were injured in a crash

Distracted driving is a leading cause of serious and fatal crashes in Atlanta and across the United States. If you or a loved one was injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, you may be eligible for compensation.

The at-fault driver's insurance company is responsible for paying for damages. This includes (but is not limited to) medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

That's why you need an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney on your side who knows how to take on the insurance companies and fight to maximize your compensation. Look no further than the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. Contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.

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