Georgia allows for hands-free phone use while on the road, but a recent study shows that even this can pose a danger. Lytx, a provider of video telematics and fleet management software, went over 100,000 of the risky driving events that its fleets engaged in. These events were captured by the video technology. Researchers found that in 23% of all these incidents, the driver was engaging in multiple risky behaviors.
The problem was that hands-free phone use often opened up drivers to other distractions and made them unsafe. In 2018, there was a 10% increase in drivers using hands-free phones who also engaged in distracting behavior like eating, drinking, smoking or using another device like a navigation system. Video showed many of these drivers speeding, tailgating or traveling without their seatbelt.
The good news was that 2018 saw a 27% rise in hands-free phone use and that 65% of all phone use that year was hands-free. It also saw 625,000 fewer risky driving events than in 2017. Lytx has a Driver Safety Program in place that has been said to reduce collisions by 50% and collision-related costs by 80%.
Fleet managers should encourage drivers to do all their business on the phone prior to heading out. Drivers should understand when the peak times for distraction are.
When car accidents arise because of a distracted driver, that driver will likely be held liable and face a personal injury claim from the victims. In Georgia, anyone less than 50% at fault for a crash can file a claim and be eligible for compensation. Recovering damages is another matter and requires one to speak with the auto insurance companies, which may be unwilling to pay out. Victims may wish for legal representation, then, during the settlement negotiation stage.