Distracted drivers pose dangers on the road - New York News

Distracted drivers pose dangers on the road

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

Surfing the web, eating, putting on makeup -- those are just a few of the things drivers do behind the wheel. It's distracted driving and it's dangerous.

For 26-year-old Jake Berryhill, the clicking of a phone keyboard was nearly the last sound that he ever heard. Jake lost control of his SUV while texting and driving.

"As I was heading for the trees, I thought, ‘This is it. This is where my story ends,'" Berryhill said.

Jake wasn't wearing his seat belt. His whole body ended up in the passenger side floorboard.

"When he arrived, he had teeth knocked out, bruises, he had a cervical collar, he was partially paralyzed. He was in rough shape," said Bridget Metzger, the director of injury prevention at Shepherd Center.

Shepherd Center is no stranger to victims of car crashes -- many of which, they assume, are caused by some sort of distracted driving.

"Car accidents are the number one cause of the injuries that we see at Shepherd Center," Metzger said. "We don't know how many were distracted driving-related because so few people are willing to say, ‘Yes, I  was driving distracted.'"

Georgia State Patrol troopers say certain types of collisions consistent with distracted driving are up around metro Atlanta. They've issued more than 4,100 violations for following too closely this year. That's up nearly 500 percent from 682 violations in 2009.

"I don't think they register that they were driving distracted sometimes because I think people are so used to multi-tasking in the car now," Metzger said.

The Department of Transportation says sending or receiving a text message takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds -- that's about the distance it takes to drive a football field at 55 miles per hour.

"In that split second, something deadly can happen," GSP Capt. Jason Johnson.

"Any time that a person is driving distracted -- and distraction does not just mean text messages -- there are hundreds of different types of distractions -- anytime that's happening, you're putting yourself and somebody else at risk potentially," Metzger said.

Jake is one of the lucky ones. With rehab, he was able to get back on his feet. Since his story did not end alongside that road 2.5 years ago, he's sharing his cautionary tale.

"I know I've changed a lot of people's driving habits for sure," Berryhill said. "My friends -- they won't text and drive anymore."

Now Jake tucks his phone away before he hits the road. He hopes others will stop and realize that no text is worth your life.

"Distracted driving is everybody's problem and it's everybody's responsibility," Metzger said. "You need to be a role model every single time you get behind the wheel -- for yourself, for your friends, your family and for your community."

Jake isn't back to 100 percent. He said his legs won't let him run very far. Still, he said he's thankful to have a second chance.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Bloomberg flies to Israel in show of support

    Bloomberg flies to Israel in show of support

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:35 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:35:51 GMT
    Via Bloomberg Facebook pageVia Bloomberg Facebook page
    Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to Israel via a commercial El Al flight despite an FAA ban on U.S.-based airlines flying to Tel Aviv. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Bloomberg on the tarmac outside the El Al jet Wednesday at Ben Gurion International Airport.
    Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to Israel via a commercial El Al flight despite an FAA ban on U.S.-based airlines flying to Tel Aviv. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Bloomberg on the tarmac outside the El Al jet Wednesday at Ben Gurion International Airport.
  • Two babies get herpes during ritual circumcision

    Two babies get herpes during ritual circumcision

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:06 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:06:48 GMT
    The New York City Department of Health has issued an alert after two babies were diagnosed with neonatal herpes this month after undergoing a ritual Jewish circumcision called metzitzah b'peh.  In this type of circumcision the mohel sucks blood directly from the infant's cut penis.  The infants need to be hospitalized and treated with intravenous acyclovir.
    The New York City Department of Health has issued an alert after two babies were diagnosed with neonatal herpes this month after undergoing a ritual Jewish circumcision called metzitzah b'peh.  In this type of circumcision the mohel sucks blood directly from the infant's cut penis.  The infants need to be hospitalized and treated with intravenous acyclovir.
  • Port Authority to plan for new bus terminal

    Port Authority to plan for new bus terminal

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:02 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:02:29 GMT
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is discussing a new main bus terminal. The 64-year-old Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan has come under criticism from New Jersey lawmakers who say their constituents have to deal with long delays, substandard conditions and a lack of communication.
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is discussing a new main bus terminal. The 64-year-old Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan has come under criticism from New Jersey lawmakers who say their constituents have to deal with long delays, substandard conditions and a lack of communication.
  • Katie Beasley's storiesMore>>

  • Officers work to enforce new 'Slow Poke Law'

    Officers work to enforce new 'Slow Poke Law'

    Friday, July 11 2014 6:59 AM EDT2014-07-11 10:59:33 GMT
    The "slow poke law" went into effect on July 1st. Drivers in the far left lane of a 2-lane highway must now move over a lane, if a faster vehicle comes up behind them.
    The "slow poke law" went into effect on July 1st. Drivers in the far left lane of a 2-lane highway must now move over a lane, if a faster vehicle comes up behind them.
  • Pay 'N Go Peach Pass to be sold at local drug stores

    Pay 'N Go Peach Pass to be sold at local drug stores

    Tuesday, July 8 2014 7:50 AM EDT2014-07-08 11:50:16 GMT
    The starter kits are sold at area drug stores and can be a quick and easy way to start using the hot lanes.
    The starter kits are sold at area drug stores and can be a quick and easy way to start using the hot lanes.
  • Teens learn the rules of the road

    Teens learn the rules of the road

    Thursday, July 3 2014 8:01 AM EDT2014-07-03 12:01:52 GMT
    It's the busiest time of year for driving instructors in Atlanta. Thousands of teenagers are trading in their chemistry and biology books, and learning how to drive during their summer break.
    It's the busiest time of year for driving instructors in Atlanta. Thousands of teenagers are trading in their chemistry and biology books, and learning how to drive during their summer break.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices