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Backover accidents are a common cause of injuries and fatalities, especially among children. Backover collisions occur when a driver is reversing, usually from a driveway or a parking space, and runs over a person who is behind the vehicle. Frequently, the driver who runs over the victim simply cannot see who is behind him because the victim is in the driver’s blind spot. In some cases, drivers are also negligent and don’t look behind them or check their rearview mirrors to make sure the coast is clear before pulling out. car accident 1

Negligent drivers can be held accountable if they are unreasonably careless or don’t follow safety rules by checking to ensure the coast is clear before pulling out. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can assist victims of backover accidents in understanding their legal rights and pursuing a damage claim to obtain compensation for the crash. Unfortunately, nothing can ever truly make up for the losses a collision can cause. Preventing backover crashes needs to be a top priority and rear-view camera systems may be one answer.

Can Rearview Cameras Prevent Atlanta Backover Accidents?

According to The Auto Channel, rearview cameras could make a big difference in reducing the number of people who die in backover accidents. AAA evaluated 17 different vehicles with rear-view cameras. The vehicles were manufactured by 11 different car makers. Some of the vehicles had factory-installed rear-view camera systems while other vehicles had after market systems.

All of the different cameras made a substantial difference in how well the motorist could see what was behind him. The increased visibility from the camera ranged from a 36 percent improvement in smaller vehicles like sedans to a 75 percent improvement in larger vehicles like hatchbacks. There was also increased visibility in large trucks, which fell right in the middle range in terms of improvement in safety resulting from rear-view cameras.

A spokesperson for AAA was careful to note that the cameras should be considered a “supplement for drivers” and that they do not replace the need to check around the vehicle for obstacles before backing up. However, the cameras can make a big difference in terms of helping drivers to better see the first 10 feet that are directly behind the vehicle. The first 10 feet are the most hazardous in terms of the risk of a backover crash causing injury or death to a young child.

In addition to the size of the car, other factors also affected how effective rearview cameras were at stopping backover crashes. For instance, rain and slush can cloud the camera and impede visibility since the driver may get only a fuzzy picture.

Still, while not perfect, the cameras may save lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety administration recognizes the safety benefits and mandates that all passenger vehicles come equipped with a rearview camera starting in 2016.

Drivers should take advantage of the cameras, but still need to remember that it is ultimately their personal responsibility to make safe choices and avoid causing backover accident deaths.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a motor vehicle crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

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In recent years, the number of bicycle riders losing their lives in motor vehicle collisions has increased even as the overall number of motor vehicle accident deaths has gone down. However, not every demographic group is at equal risk of dying in bike accidents. A recent report published by the Governors’ Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) reveals that certain groups are much more likely to die in a bike crash than others. In particular, the GHSA warns that “bicycle fatalities are increasingly an urban phenomenon.” bike

For riders and drivers in Atlanta, the risk of bike accidents is a significant risk. Drivers need to be aware of bicycle riders on the road and take reasonable steps to protect these riders from getting hurt. When a bike collision happens, an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer should be consulted for help taking legal action.

Who is at Risk of Atlanta Bike Accident Fatalities?

Although the number of people dying in car crashes has generally been trending downwards, this is not true for bicycle riders. Between 2010 and 2012, overall motor vehicle deaths increased just one percent while annual bicycle accident deaths increased 16 percent. The number of bicycle riders killed in motor vehicle collisions increased in a total of 22 states during this time period.

The demographics of who is riding, and who is dying in crashes, has shifted during as more people have embraced bicycle riding. In 1975, for example, adults aged 20 and up represented only 21 percent of bicycle accident fatalities. In 2012, adults in this age group accounted for a full 84 percent of the people who were killed. It is not just kids riding bikes who are in danger today, but instead an ever-increasing number of older people who commute on bicycles are facing the risk of injury or death in accidents.

Those in urban centers, such as Atlanta, are facing the greatest risks. Bikers in urban areas accounted for 69 percent of bicycle accident deaths in 2012 compared with just 50 percent of fatalities in 1975. Since there has been a 62 percent increase in bicycling commuters since 2000, this phenomenon makes sense. The high populations in urban centers means that there is a higher level of exposure to bicycles as well as more interaction between bikes and cars. This naturally increases accident risks.

State highway safety offices are reportedly recognizing the risks that riders face and are dedicating more resources to ensure that bicycle riders, as well as all road users, are safe. Infrastructure changes and education of bicyclists and drivers are some of the tactics being usd to help bring the death rate down. Ultimately, however, it is up to the individual rider and driver to ensure that they are exercising an appropriate level of care to avoid bike collisions that could be deadly.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a motor vehicle crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

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Around eight million vehicles on the roads in the United States today may have defective airbags. CNN reports that the problem with these air bags is that they can explode, causing passengers to be struck by shrapnel. Obviously, this significantly increases the risk to motorists when a collision occurs. Dozens of serious injuries have been linked to these airbag problems and four fatalities may have been caused by the exploding safety devices. b10scripts002

A recall has been instituted because of the defect, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unfortunately, the airbag manufacturer, Takata, does not have enough parts to replace all of the millions of defective airbags in people’s cars. The proposed solution is to disable the potentially defective airbags. Unfortunately, some safety experts are indicating that this solution could pose an even greater risk to drivers and passengers.

Airbag manufacturers and car makers have a basic obligation to the public to make sure they don’t release defective and dangerous products. They also have a duty to ensure they handle recalls and repairs in a responsible way. When manufacturers fail to fulfill the obligations to make safe products, victims can recover compensation. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can provide assistance with pursuing a claim for damages after injuries caused by a defective airbag.

Defective Airbags and Dangerous Recalls Increase Atlanta Collision Risks

Airbags serve a very important safety purpose in vehicles, helping to cushion the blow when a collision happens. Without an airbag, a driver or front-seat passenger is more likely to suffer severe facial injuries, traumatic brain injury and other traumatic injuries due to the force of an impact. This is why it is so troubling that Takata plans to simply disable defective airbags when no replacement parts are available.

Takata airbags are installed in cars by many manufacturers including BMW, Mazda, Toyota, Subaru, General Motors, Ford and Honda. The millions of people with the defective airbags may find themselves with no airbag at all if they take their vehicle in for repairs due to the recall and Takata disables the safety device.

The executive director for the Center for Auto Safety cautions that the risk from the disabled airbags could actually be worse than the chances of the airbag exploding. More people may be endangered by the disabling of the airbags since just a small percent of the Takata airbags actually explode upon impact. Drivers at least have a chance that their airbag will work to protect them (and not explode). When the airbag is disabled, there is nothing to provide that protection.

Takata needs to carefully evaluate whether disabling airbags is the best approach to take. Those who have a defective Takata airbag also need to understand their legal rights, both if they have an airbag that explodes and if the company disables their safety device and a collision and injuries subsequently occur. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can help those who have been hurt to determine if the airbag or vehicle manufacturer is to blame for damages caused by a crash.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a motor vehicle crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

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Drivers education classes can help to lower car insurance rates for families with teenagers. More importantly, drivers education provides young people with invaluable advice about learning how to drive safely and effectively. Most of these types of programs also require supervised driving practice with a qualified instructor so teens can learn how to make the best choices behind the wheel. teens-995274-m

Unfortunately, many young people are now skipping driver’s education classes. This has serious consequences as these teens are not getting the best information and experience before they get their license and start driving. Motor vehicle collisions are a top cause of death for teens and young adults, and drivers within this age group are also the most likely to cause a crash and hurt themselves or others. The lack of driver’s education is only likely to exacerbate this problem.

Being a teen is not an excuse for making dangerous choices behind the wheel, and teens are held to the same standard of care as any reasonable driver on the road. If you or a loved one is the victim of a crash with a teen driver, it is important to call an Atlanta car accident lawyer for help taking legal action as soon as possible. The teen won’t have to pay personally to compensate you; auto insurance covers car accident losses. This means it may make sense to sue a teen who caused a crash even if the teen has no financial resources, and you should consider doing so even if you were a passenger who was a friend of the teen.

Drivers Education Can Reduce the Georgia Crash Rate

ABC reported on the decline in the number of teenagers taking driver’s education courses. Drivers ed used to be offered as an option to teenagers in public schools but there has been a diminishing availability of these types of programs.

When driver’s education is not readily available in public schools, young teens may need to go to a commercial driving school to get training, education and supervised practice time. If teens simply forego drivers education when they determine their school is not offering it, then the result of this is that there ends up being even more young and inexperienced motorists on the roadways.

Drivers education makes a big difference in whether a teen is likely to follow the rules or make safe choices. For example, one study shows that the crash rate for a young driver who has been through a driver’s education program may be as much as four percent lower. The rate of traffic citations varies even more substantially between teens who attended drivers ed and those who did not. For example, traffic citations are cut by as much as 40 percent if a teen takes a driver’s education course.

Parents need to be aware of the importance of driver’s education and should try to get their child into some type of program to provide assistance. If a teen doesn’t learn the right driving skills and subsequently causes a collision through negligence or wrongdoing, the young person can be held accountable. Call an Atlanta car accident lawyer for help.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a motor vehicle crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 

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Talking to your car is not as crazy as it sounds. There are a whole host of in-dash tools and electronic equipment installed in most vehicles. Voice-activated smart phones and in-dash entertainment systems are examples of some of the electronic components that may integrate with your vehicle and that you may be able to “talk” to. mobile-phone-in-hand-1438231-1-m

Unfortunately, many people believe that talking to their electronic devices while driving is safe.  There are many motorist who avoid picking up their handheld devices or holding their cell phones as they drive, but who feel perfectly comfortable using voice-activated controls. The reality, however, is that even talking to your car can be very dangerous and can significantly increase the risk that a motor vehicle accident will happen. An experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer should be consulted by victims involved in a collision for help understanding their legal rights if a distracted driver causes a car accident to occur.

Talking to Electronics Increases Car Crash Risks

According to Yahoo News, several recent studies have found that many voice-activated electronic systems are “so error-prone or complex that they require more concentration from drivers rather than less.”

In other words, motorists trying to make the safe and smart choice to talk to their phones, GPS devices or other in-vehicle electronics may be actually at greater risk of getting hurt in a car crash than those who choose to hold the devices and enter data by hand.

The studies revealing this troubling information was released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, working jointly with the University of Utah.  One study examined infotainment systems in popular vehicles made by Mercedes, Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler and Hyundai. Another study took a close look at whether using Apple’s virtual assistant Siri was safe while driving.  The motorists in this study navigated, sent texts, posted on Social media accounts or used their calendar by asking Siri to take care of the tasks for them.

The different systems were graded on a scale of one (least distracting) to five (most distracting) and were tested by 162 different university students and other volunteers in a lab setting, in a driving simulator and while driving in a neighborhood in Salt Lake City.

Apple ended up receiving the worst rating in the study. Drivers who were using Siri in a driving simulator rear-ended other vehicles twice.  Because Siri was so distracting, Apple’s system received a rating of 4.14.

Among the infotainment systems, Chevrolet’s MyLink received the lowest rating of just 3.7.  The infotainment system from Chevrolet, as well as from Mercedes, Ford and Chrysler, were found to be much more complicated than just using a cell phone would have been.

Drivers need to be aware that their hands-free devices are not necessarily safe and should make it a priority to stop using all electronics in any form while driving and instead to remain focused on the road at all times.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a motor vehicle crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 

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Fall football season is a time when many young people attend homecoming and other games with their friends. Unfortunately, many teenagers choose to drink at these events. Winter dances and holiday parties are another time of the year when young people may feel pressured to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel. breathalyzer-465392-m

An Atlanta car accident lawyer knows that teenagers are the age group with the highest rate of motor vehicle collisions and that car accidents are a leading cause of death among teenagers. Preventing teens from getting in the car drunk during fall and the upcoming holidays could help to save lives. Parents should be aware that one of the biggest influences on whether their kids choose to drive drunk is who their children’s friends are.

Peer Pressure and the Risk of Teen Drunk Driving

A study that was published on the website of the National Institute of Health (NIH) reveals that teenagers are very susceptible to peer pressure when in their vehicles. According to the study:

  • Teens who have friends or peers in their car with them are focused on peer approval and their driving safety is compromised. There is a significant risk of a motor vehicle collision among teens who have friends in the car with them, and there is no such comparable risk among adults driving with others.
  • While less popular teenagers are generally very susceptible to peer pressure, more popular adolescents are at the greatest risk of consuming alcohol when underage as a result of pressure on this specific issue from their peer group.
  • A teen whose peer group disapproves of impaired driving is significantly less likely to consume alcohol and then operate a motor vehicle.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving recognizes the influence that a teen’s peer group can have and aims to use positive peer pressure to help encourage kids to drive sober. MADD has a Power of You(th) program that provides facts to young people. For example, according to surveys published by MADD, only 30 percent of teens responding to one survey indicated that they had consumed alcohol in the prior month and only 20 percent of teens said that they had engaged in behavior classified as binge drinking. Many young people might assume that a larger number of other teens drink.

As a part of the Power of You(th) program, MADD also has chosen national teen influencers. These are young people who have felt the effects of impaired driving on their own lives or who have been leaders in local clubs and organizations that fight against impaired driving. The influencers will attend and participate in MADD events to help convince young people that drinking and driving is never OK.

Parents need to know that a child’s peer group has a profound impact on his or her behavior behind the wheel. This football and holiday season, parents should be sure that they know who their children are with when they go to dances and other events. By talking to your kids and getting to know their friends, you can determine if your child’s peer group is a positive influence or is a group of kids at risk of getting into an impaired driving accident.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a motor vehicle crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 

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In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spearheaded efforts to get more than 7.4 million car seats recalled. The reason for the recall was a defective buckle that could cause the car seat to function improperly, putting children at risk. child sad

An Atlanta car accident lawyer knows that car seats have a huge impact on whether a child will be hurt or killed in a collision or not. As many as 1/3 of all kids under the age of 13 who lose their lives in a motor vehicle accident are not properly secured using a car seat, booster seat or seat belt at the time of their deaths. Unfortunately, many parents try to secure their children but it turns out that a problem with the car seat (like a defective buckle) results in the child not having the necessary safety protection. The NHTSA is trying to help parents to avoid this problem with a new tool.

NHTSA Takes Steps to Help Prevent Child Fatalities in Vehicle Collisions

The NHTSA has announced a new initiative called “Don’t Delay. Register Your Car Seat Today.” The goal is to get parents to register their car seat on a new Parents Central website. Once a parent has registered a car seat, manufacturers can notify the parent of a problem with the product and parents can take action to switch to a new seat or have their existing seat repaired.

Registration makes a big difference in whether repairs are made or not. Light vehicles must be registered by law, and when a light vehicle is recalled, about 75 percent of people get their car repaired. However, with no required car seat registration, only around 40 percent of parents have their car seats repaired when a recall occurs.

When a defective car seat is in use, a child may not benefit from having the proper security in the car. This is can have a huge impact on safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of deaths for young children. However, car seat use can reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for kids between the ages of zero and one. Car seats can also reduce the risk of death for kids between the ages of one and four by 54 percent, and can reduce the risk of death for kids between four and eight by 45 percent.

If a car seat is defective, parents can take legal action against the car manufacturer if their child is hurt or killed. However, registering a car seat to be notified about recalls is one of the best ways for parents to avoid this type of tragedy.

Parents can also take advantage of other tools that the NHTSA has made available. For example, the NHTSA has a Car Seat Finder tool that allows parents to input their child’s weight and their child’s age. Using this tool, parents can find the right car seat or booster seat that will meet their families needs.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you if you or your child is hurt in a car accident. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 

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The United States regulatory authorities in charge of reducing traffic collisions routinely publish “good news,” for the public. Just recently, for example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tried to put a positive spin on the fact that the number of traffic deaths in the year 2012 increased as compared with 2011. While revealing that 30,800 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents over the course of 2012, the NHTSA said that this is one of the first increases in the death toll in decades and that the number of people killed annually in car accidents is still near historic lows. car fire

The reality is that while we have brought down the death toll since the record high number of fatalities in the 1970s, other countries have had a far greater percentage reduction in the number of people who die in motor vehicle crashes than the U.S. When a collision occurs, an Atlanta car accident lawyer should be consulted for help pursuing a damage claim.

Why is the U.S. Failing in Traffic Death Reductions

There are more than 25 other countries that have done better in reducing the death rate for motor vehicle accidents over the past several decades. For example, while the U.S. has reduced the number of annual car crash deaths 41 percent since 1972, the Netherlands and Germany both reduced the death toll by 81 percent and Great Britain reduced its death toll by 76 percent.

Other countries have done better than the U.S. for a variety of possible reasons, but USA Today recently suggested that the big issue may be that regulators in this country are more focused on technology while other countries are more focused on driver behavior.

On the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for example, recent news stories discuss air bag technology; car seat improvements; and new rules for vehicle-to-vehicle communications technologies. Car makers regularly compete to make driving more automated to reduce human error, even up to creating self-driving cars, and crash test ratings all push car makers to incorporate more and more safety features.

These technologies and added safety features are a good thing, but they mainly try to mitigate damage after an accident has already happened. Changing driver behavior to prevent accidents in the first place may be a better solution. For example, other countries that have had greater success in reducing the car accident death toll generally have embraced solutions like tough rules against distracted driving, red light cameras and radar detectors. The U.S. has been slower to embrace these tools and to encourage drivers to behave in a safe way behind the wheel.

Technology can, unfortunately, fail as the recent GM ignition switch problems have demonstrated. If the focus is on changing driver behavior and making sure motorists make smart choices behind the road, collisions can be prevented more reliably. If the U.S. were to follow the example of other countries, as many as 20,000 fewer people could die in traffic accidents annually.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a motor vehicle crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 

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Georgia lawmakers are taking preliminary steps to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, General Assembly leaders appointed members to make recommendations on the issue of medicinal marijuana. This action took place after House Bill 885 failed to pass in the last legislative session. The bill would have permitted families in Georgia to use cannabis oil to treat seizure disorders and would have provided immunity from prosecution to those in possession of the oil. flowering-cannabis-plants---hydroponics-indoors-1431036-m

A report on medical marijuana legalization is expected by the end of the year, and could move Georgia closer to becoming one of many states that is relaxing the rules on marijuana use. Unfortunately, as states move forward towards making marijuana more accessible, the issue of stoned driving will become even more pressing. Stoned driving is dangerous, and victims of collisions with impaired drivers should consult with an Atlanta car accident lawyer for help pursuing a claim for monetary compensation.

Stoned Driving Can Put Atlanta Drivers at Risk of Collisions

The New York Times took a close look at stoned driving earlier this year, indicating that around six percent of drivers tested positive for marijuana when stopped randomly on American highways in 2007. There are likely more stoned drivers on the roads now that the rules for marijuana use have been relaxed. In fact, the Denver Post reported that more drivers in Colorado are testing positive for marijuana after fatal collisions now that recreational marijuana has become legal in the state.

Marijuana can affect a person’s ability to drive, and a motorist who has any measurable amount of THC in the blood stream has twice the risk of becoming involved in a collision as compared with someone who has not used cannabis products. People who have used marijuana are less able to multitask when stoned and they require more of their brain power to do simple tasks than people who are sober.

Unfortunately, although it is clear that a stoned driver is a danger on the roads, it is less clear how to effectively regulate the practice of driving under the influence of marijuana. The ABA Journal recently published an article about the challenges of regulating stoned driving, calling the determination of driver impairment an “imperfect science.”

Both Colorado and Washington state have set limits on the amount of THC in a person’s blood in order to keep stoned drivers off the roads. However, scientists have not established a direct link between THC and a level of driving impairment. Furthermore, a person is most impaired by cannabis 30 minutes after taking the drug, but has the highest levels of THC 10 minutes after smoking marijuana.

The difficulty in regulating stoned driving should be carefully considered by Georgia lawmakers as they decide whether to move forward with medical marijuana. People on the roads deserve to be safe, and victims of stoned driving collisions should consult with an Atlanta car accident lawyer for help.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a stoned driving crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 

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School zones are supposed to be safe zones for children, with lower speed limits and plenty of warnings for drivers about the possibility that young pedestrians will be crossing the roads.  Unfortunately, a new study from Safe Kids USA reveals that far too many motorists are failing to follow safety rules in school zones. Unfortunately, drivers are traveling through school zones when they are distracted. This can endanger the lives of children as they commute to and from school each day. school-bus-910927-m

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned that “As pedestrians, children are at even greater risk of injury or death from traffic crashes,” when compared with adults. When motorists are distracted when traveling through a school zone, the lives of young people are in jeopardy.  Victims of distracted driving collisions and their family members should consult with an Atlanta car accident attorney to take legal action if a driver negligently caused a distracted driving accident in a school zone. 

School Children at Risk of Atlanta Distracted Driving Accidents

Every year, an estimated 25,000 children in the United States suffer an injury while commuting to or from school.  The CDC reports that almost one in four traffic fatalities among kids under the age of 14 are pedestrian deaths, so a good number of kids are killed while walking to class. Children may also be injured or hurt while walking to or from the bus, especially if drivers are not paying careful attention.

The high rate of pedestrian accidents among children makes the data from the Safe Kids USA report even more disturbing. According to the report, as many as one driver out of every six is distracted when traveling through a school zone.  More drivers are distracted during the afternoon commute home than the morning, and drivers tend to be the most distracted in school zones with no flashing lights as well as in areas where there is a high traffic volume of 10,000 or more vehicles per day.

Both male and female drivers make the dangerous choice to drive distracted in a school zone, although women are slightly more likely than men to be focused on something other than the road. In fact, 187 out of every 1,000 female drivers going through a school zone are distracted compared with 154 out of every 1,000 male drivers.

The motorists who are distracted in school zones have many different things that are taking their attention away from keeping children safe.  For example:

  • 98 out of 1,000 motorists driving in a school zone are using an electronic device, such as a cellular phone.
  • 44 out of 1,000 motorists driving in a school zone are smoking, or consuming food or beverages.
  • 19 out of 1,000 motorists driving in a school zone are either reaching behind them or looking behind them.
  • Three out of 1,000 motorists driving in a school zone are reading something.

Motorists in large vehicles including minivans and SUVs were the most likely to be engaged in behavior classified as a distraction. Unfortunately, these motorists may do the most damage to young collision victims.

Whenever a driver of any vehicle makes the choice to drive distracted through a school zone, an Atlanta car accident lawyer can help. Call Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation after your distracted driving accident.