Last month, a 67-year-old man was killed in a car crash on Georgia 400 near Alpharetta. Last week, the at-fault driver found herself facing second-degree vehicular homicide charges after police determined the fatal accident occurred because she was talking on her cellphone.
According to police reports, the woman, a 23-year-old Alpharetta resident, veered into an adjacent lane and bumped into the victim's SUV. The impact caused the victim to lose control of his vehicle, which rolled several times before landing in a ditch. He died at the scene of the accident.
The accident underscores the dangers of using a cellphone behind the wheel. Many people think that texting while driving is the only problem, but talking on the phone can be just as dangerous. One of the victim's neighbors summed up the issue perfectly when he told WSB-TV News that "you're driving a 2,000 pound rocket. You've got to be mindful on the road."
The accident came at the same time that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called for a complete prohibition on drivers' cellphone use. Many states, including Georgia, ban texting while driving, but most permit drivers to talk on the phone. Some states require drivers to use a hands-free device when making phone calls, but many experts believe that the danger lies in having the conversation, not in holding the phone.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, distracted driving claimed nearly 3,000 lives in the last year alone.
All Georgia drivers need to make a conscious effort to stay focused on the road. As this accident illustrates, even minor distractions can cause drivers to make mistakes that result in catastrophic injuries or loss of life.
Source: WSB-TV Action News, "Police: Driver on Cellphone Caused Fatal Wreck," Mike Petchenik, May 16, 2012.