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The dangers of texting while driving have been trumpeted quite often in media coverage of the past few years. Facts such as using a hand-held device while driving can quadruple the likelihood of a car accident have been repeated often. As mobile technology has improved, it is now possible to send texts without holding a phone. As a result, you might think that texting in this manner is much safer, but according to a recent study, it is just as dangerous.

For the study, the Texas Transportation Institute used drivers of all age groups from teens to seniors to study texting’s effect on their driving. As a control, each driver drove 10 minutes at 30 miles-per-hour while not texting. Then the process was completed twice more: once while manually texting and once while using a voice-to-text app on their phones. When they were driving, each participant was required to send one text, read one and reply to three, using a script.

The study found that no matter what kind of texting was used, each driver’s response times suffered. During the manual and hand-free texting portion of the study, each driver took almost twice as long to react to hazards on the road than they did which they were not texting. Although drivers reported that they felt safer using hands-free texting, in reality their driving performance was practically identical for both texting methods.

Texting in Georgia

Unfortunately, Georgia roadways are not immune to the dangers of texting and other forms of distracted driving. To help combat the problem, Georgia is among the majority of states that have passed restrictions on using wireless devices while behind the wheel.

Georgia law prohibits all drivers from using a wireless communication device to write, read or send a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle. However, texting while driving is permitted to summon emergency services or to report an emergency or crime to law enforcement. Additionally, texting behind the wheel is legal if the vehicle is parked.

Drivers who violate the texting ban are subject to a misdemeanor fine of $150. In addition to this rather small fine, drivers who injure others because of texting also can face a civil lawsuit for negligence. Under Georgia law, those who are injured because of negligence can recover expenses such as present and future lost wages, medical bills, property damage and pain and suffering from the negligent driver.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a careless or inattentive driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can advise you of your right to compensation and work to hold the responsible party financially accountable for their actions.