Image of Gary Martin Hays

Atlanta, Savannah, & All of Georgia

Personal Injury Attorney

Call 1-800-898-HAYS (4297)

More Questions than Answers after Lawrenceville Apartment Complex Shooting

A recent shooting at a Lawrenceville, Georgia, apartment complex has left two men dead and both police and apartment complex officials searching for a suspect.padlock-1-960877-m

As our experienced personal injury attorneys in Atlanta understand, rape, sexual assault, shooting and other forms of violent crime may result not only in criminal charges but in a civil complaint against the owner of the property. Apartment complex owners have a responsibility to take all necessary precautions to keep tenants and guests safe. Prior property crimes may give a landlord notice of possible future crimes against a person. Apartment complex owners who knew that similar crimes took place may be liable for the victim's injuries.

Two men found shot to death in Gwinnett County apartment

According to WSB-TV, the fatal shooting occurred on Feb. 9 at a Lawrenceville apartment complex. The two victims, ages 24 and 22, were found in the hallway of a third-story apartment and inside the apartment. A third person escaped harm by hiding in a back room and jumping off the third-story balcony and into the bushes.

As of the time of the report, Police had yet to name suspects or a motive in the double homicide. The apartment complex said it was looking at surveillance video to determine whether the suspect entered the gated community with permission, sneaked inside or forcibly entered the apartment in which the shootings occurred.

In the wake of the shooting, neighbors told WSB-TV that the apartment complex and surrounding neighborhood has been "getting worse" over the past couple years, with one neighbor saying that the neighborhood had become much less safe due to shootings, assaults and other forms of violent crime.

Premises liability and apartment complex safety

While the cause of the homicide is under investigation and no suspect has been named, a separate fatal shooting that occurred on the grounds of a Gwinnett County apartment complex in April 2014 raised concerns over property owner liability in preventing violent crime that includes shootings, armed robbery and trespassing.

In July 2014, 11 Alive reported that a bystander was fatally shot outside his apartment after two men suddenly got into an argument with a group of people, resulting in gunshots. 11 Alive reports that the bystander's survivors filed a lawsuit against the apartment complex management and owners for allegedly covering up crime at the complex.

According to the report, Gwinnett County police reports indicated that the apartment complex had a history of assaults, shootings, robberies, rape and sexual assault. However, it was alleged that apartment complex owners failed to warn residents and prospective residents about the dangers or take the necessary steps to make their premises safer for residents.

What responsibilities do property owners have in preventing crime?

Property owners and managers are responsible for providing safe premises for patrons and guests. Negligent security can involve improperly functioning locks that allow a perpetrator into an apartment or hotel room, a failure on apartment owners to address known issues in a high-crime area, broken security cameras or a lack of security guards on a dangerous premises.

When it is found that a property owner fails to safeguard tenants, patrons or guests against known hazards on that property, an injury victim - or his or her loved ones - may have a right to file a claim against that property owner if negligent security has contributed or causes a violent crime such as a rape, sexual assault or shooting.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia.

Owners of Apartment Complexes May Be Legally Responsible for Injuries to Rape Victims

A 19-year-old woman living in an East Point apartment experienced a horrific ordeal. She reported being raped at gunpoint by two men who invaded her Garden Court apartment while she was cooking dinner, according to The news station reported that the two men entered her apartment after the woman opened a patio door to air out her apartment because something she was cooking started smoking. Police said the two men took turns brutally attacking her over the course of a half hour, then ransacked her home before leaving with her cell phone and $900. Police stated they were looking for the two suspects after the November 2014 incident.

Photo Credit: Kelly Lawson, GBI (from

Photo Credit:

Our personal injury lawyers know that, unfortunately, rapes and sexual assaults in apartments in East Point, Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah and across Georgia happen far too frequently. These disturbing cases  can result in criminal charges against the perpetrators as well as a civil case against the owners or managers of the property.

Why should the property owners be held responsible? In so many cases, these violent assaults could have been avoided if the property owner took appropriate preventative action. In the legal realm, a rape, sexual assault, shooting, murder or other violent attack against an individual on a property may be considered a "negligent security case." While landlords cannot guarantee that their tenants will be safe from a sexual assault, they must make sure their properties are as safe as possible. Georgia law states property owners do have certain responsibilities. Once the property owner becomes aware of a crime problem, he must take reasonable security precautions to prevent attacks.

What Is a Negligent Security Case?

For example, if the manager of a property is aware of assaults happening on the property and fails to beef up security, he may be held liable in a negligent security lawsuit.

Based on the news story about the East Point apartment rape, it's not clear if the property owner was on notice of a crime problem at Garden Court prior to the rape. However, reports that many residents said they heard nothing from the apartment complex about the rape three days after the incident.

If true, this may be negligent oversight by the apartment complex. In cases of rapes at apartment complexes, the landlord should inform other tenants as soon as possible so the residents can take precautions. Furthermore, the apartment complex should make sure apartment locks are in working order and that the parking lot is adequately lighted. They may need to hire trained security personnel and install security cameras.

In the case of the East Point rape, police don't believe the suspects lived at the apartment complex and say the attack was random. An 11 Alive News reporter said security has been increased and extra hours have been added to security shifts.

Police have released detailed composite sketches of the suspects and are asking for the public to call Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-TIPS if they recognize the suspects.

Negligent security cases can become complex, which is why it's important to seek the advice of legal counsel. If you or a loved one is sexually assaulted at an apartment complex, don't wait to contact an experienced attorney to learn about your rights. You may be entitled to compensation from the property owner for losses related to your injuries as well as pain and suffering.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in East Point, Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia.

Could Toll Passes Help Reduce Speeding Crashes Among Atlanta Drivers?

In the state of Georgia, motorists in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas can obtain Peach Pass if they want to be able to go through tolls without having to stop to pay. Peach Pass makes it much more convenient for drivers to pay their tolls since they do not have to stop and wait. Peach Pass can also cut down significantly on traffic congestion on toll roads and reduces the number of workers who need to physically be on interstates and highways to collect money. smart-456070-m

Peach Pass is a convenience that many motorists would not want to ever give up. There are now some states, however, that use electronic toll collecting devices to do more than just collect money from road travelers. A personal injury lawyer knows that at least three states are already using their own toll collecting devices as a means of punishing speeders and encouraging people to drive more slowly.

Toll Collection Devices as a Means to Reduce Speeding

Different states have different electronic devices used to collect tolls. Fifteen states in the country use a system called EZ Pass which is similar in many ways to Peach Pass but with a larger network.

Fox News reports that EZ Pass is now tracking driver speeds in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York. If drivers do not slow down and they go over the speed limit as they go through toll plazas, then they face consequences.

In Maryland, for example, there is a 30 mile-per-hour limit for drivers traveling through a toll plaza. Any motorist who has an EZ Pass and who goes above that limit by 12 miles or more per-hour twice over the course of six months will have his or her EZ Pass suspended for a period of 60 days.

Some drivers are upset by the fact that their toll collection devices are monitoring their speed, even as authorities have rushed to make it clear that tickets are not being issued to speeders (at least not yet). However, the reality is that encouraging drivers to slow down can be a very good thing.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data shows that around 30 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths occur in accidents involving a speeding driver. Around a third of all crash deaths since 2003 have involved a motorist who is going too fast. This includes not only accidents caused by motorists who receive citations for exceeding posted speed limits but also people who go too fast for road conditions and cause a crash as a result. In 2012 alone, speeding was a factor in an estimated 10,219 car crash deaths.

IIHS also states that about 30 percent of the deadly accidents involving speeding happen on interstate and freeways. Only minor local roads had more speeding-related fatalities. In 2012 alone, 1,185 people died in speeding-related crashes on highways.

If using a toll pass can help to encourage drivers to slow down and can perhaps bring the death toll down, this could be a very good thing. If successful, this phenomenon is likely to spread to other EZ Pass states and perhaps some day to Georgia's Peach Pass as well.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia.

Elderly Drivers and Atlanta Car Accident Risks

As a person ages, he or she may experience physical decline, cognitive impairments, a change in sensory judgment and a change in emotions. The physical and mental changes that a body goes through can compromise a senior citizen's ability to drive. This can make it difficult for seniors in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia, who may not want to give up their ability to get around on their own, but who may present a risk on the roads. elderly

Because of the recognized dangers associated with older adults driving vehicles, the majority of seniors responding to a recent survey have indicated they believe that the laws should be tougher on older drivers. As Insurance News reports, around 70 percent of seniors aged 65 and older believe that a driver who is 75 years of age and up should be required to renew a driver's license in person. Most seniors also believe that a medical examination should be required any time a 75+ year old wants to get a license. Despite this general belief, however, a personal injury lawyer knows that many individual seniors may not be certain about when it is personally their time to stop getting behind the wheel.

Senior Driving Safety Awareness is an Important Issue

To draw attention to the risks associated with senior driving, Older Driver Safety Awareness Week was held this December. This is an annual event which, this year, ran from December 1- December 5. Although it is over for the year, a big part of the event is encouraging seniors and their families to have an open discussion and create a plan for when driving has become impossible. This is something that can be done any time. As part of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, a different specific activity was suggested for each day, and seniors and those with elderly family members can do those activities now or over the holiday season. The activities include:

  • Having a family conference: Discussing the issue of elder driving safety is something that several family members should be a part of. The holidays, when family members get together, are a good time for younger family members to determine if the senior in their life has limitations that will make driving difficult.
  • Identifying changes that affect driving abilities. Seniors and their younger family members need to be aware of some of the physical and mental health issues that can compromise the ability to drive safely. This will make it easier to recognize when those problems arise.
  • Exploring adaptive devices. There are products and devices that can make it easier for an older person to drive, potentially extending the period of time the senior can remain independent.
  • Undergoing an evaluation by a medical professional. A doctor, occupational therapist or other healthcare provider can conduct an exam to determine if a senior is still OK to drive.
  • Learning to adapt to changes. A senior and his or her family members should create a plan for how the senior can continue to get around once driving no longer is an acceptable means of transportation.

Planning ahead and understanding options when a senior can no longer driver could help to keep people off the roads once they present a risk to themselves and others.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia.

Car-Sharing and Atlanta Traffic Accident Risks

For motorists in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia, car sharing services like Uber provide a new option for transportation. Drivers have taken advantage of the opportunity to become car sharers and provide rides for extra money. Despite the advantages of extra income and a new mode of transportation, however, a personal injury lawyer knows that there are some significant risks associated with car sharing. taxi-bubble-sign-1442111-m

The big issue is who can be held responsible in the event that an accident happens. This question can come up when a negligent driver causes a crash and injures a passenger who signed up for car sharing. It also arises if a driver strikes an innocent pedestrian, bicyclist or other motorist will the driver is transporting a passenger as part of car sharing.

Who is Liable for Injuries Caused by a Car-Sharer? 

Forbes recently addressed the question of who can be held liable in situations where an accident happens while car-sharing. As the article made clear, the driver is often the only one who is held legally responsible for covering damages that are caused to victims.

Car sharing companies protect themselves from lawsuits brought by passengers by having passengers sign comprehensive liability releases upon downloading the app and booking a ride. Passengers agree not to sue or hold the company accountable not just for accidents but for other problems like assaults caused by drivers.

Other motorists who may be stuck by a driver offering car sharing of course did not sign a liability release. However, they may still be unable to sue because the drivers who work for these car sharing services are independent contractors and not employees. The car sharing companies may simply be acting as an information company and are not actually offering rides, which means the Communications Decency Act may provide additional protection from liability.

Since the companies may be immune from liability, this leaves victims filing a lawsuit against the driver. The problem is, the driver may have insufficient insurance or may be entirely lacking in coverage for collision damages.

Many insurance companies have been very resistant to providing coverage for car sharing. A spokesperson for the Property Casualty Association of America has released the statement that a "private passenger auto policy isn't intended to cover livery services." According to the SF Gate, the Association believes that, in most cases, state law would allow an insurer to cancel services to a policyholder providing car sharing since the risk of this type of commercial driving is materially different than the typical risk assumed by an auto insurer.

State Farm has refused to cover drivers who engage in car-sharing, as has Geico. In fact, the SF Gate recently reported on leaked documents from Geico showing just how hard a line the company takes against those who want to offer rides for money. The documents instruct staff members to group reject car sharers and provide a script that the staff is supposed to read that lets drivers know they need to either get other insurance or prove they aren't offering rides any more.

If drivers don't have coverage for collisions, then it becomes much more complicated for crash victims to file a lawsuit and obtain damages after a crash.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia.

NHTSA Effectiveness Curbing Atlanta Crashes Challenged

In-vehicle technologies have significantly evolved in recent years. There are now many advances designed to reduce the risk of human error resulting in motor vehicle collisions. There are also myriad in-vehicle safety devices intended to reduce the severity of injuries motorists suffer when a collision occurs. airbag1

A personal injury lawyer knows sometimes, those technologies fail. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the federal agency responsible for overseeing safety and setting rules for new technologies. The agency is also supposed to take swift action if something goes wrong, conducting investigations and making information available to the public so they can act to protect themselves. Unfortunately, as Auto News reports, there are serious concerns about whether the NTHSA is indeed effective in this important role.

Is the NHTSA Effective?

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is a bipartisan committee made up of both Democrats and Republicans. Committee leaders have sent a letter requesting that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) launch an investigation into the efficacy of the NHTSA.

In a letter from the Committee, leaders stated: "As vehicle functions and safety systems become more complex, these findings raise concerns about NHTSA's process of obtaining data and investigating vehicle defects."

These concerns are valid, especially when considering how the NTHSA has handled two high-profile recalls that have made recent headlines.

One important recall was the recall of General Motors vehicles with defective ignition switches. The problem could result in a vehicle suddenly and unexpectedly shutting off, leaving a driver in the middle of the road with a disabled vehicle. Airbags and other safety devices reportedly do not work properly in these instances.

The NHTSA may have been aware of problems with the GM ignition switches dating  back to 2007. However, neither the agency nor GM acted until this year, and the delay in recalling the vehicles may have resulted in more accidents, injuries and fatalities than would have occurred if swift action had been taken.

Another major recall was conducted this year as a result of Takata airbag problems. Takata airbags are installed in vehicles made by 10 different auto manufacturers. Unfortunately, the airbags can explode and strike those inside of the car with shrapnel. This, of course, is very dangerous and four deaths and dozens of injuries have happened as a result of the airbag problems.

Reports indicate NHTSA regulators initially provided misinformation about the vehicles that were affected by the airbag problem. The tool on the NHTSA website letting people look up whether their car had a problem or not also did not work effectively.

This puts the American public at serious risk of possible injury - or worse.

The NHTSA is not keeping up with its role in overseeing recalls, gathering information and regulating vehicle technologies. The agency owes it to the American people to do better.

Government leaders have called on the federal Government Accountability Office to launch an investigation and report back to policy makers with possible suggestions for improvement.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia.

Workplace Cell Phone Policies Should Reduce Atlanta Accident Risks

Drivers who use cell phones and fail to pay careful attention to the road can be held responsible if their actions cause a crash. In some cases, a driver who is responsible for causing a collision will be sued by those who have been harmed by the accident. A personal injury lawyer can help motorists to file a claim to recover compensation for losses. cardashboard

State laws also make make it possible for injured people to take action against employers when the at-fault driver was working at the time of the crash. This means if an employee is driving somewhere as a part of his or her job and he or she causes a motor vehicle collision to occur, the employer could potentially be held responsible. This is especially common in truck accident cases when a truck driver causes a crash and a victim is hurt.

Employers need to be aware of the potential for legal liability and should ensure that they have a workplace cell phone policy in place in order to ensure they do not find themselves on the hook for a motor vehicle crash.

The National Safety Council Provides Advice on Workplace Cell Phone Policies

The National Safety Council (NSC) provides information on creating an effective workplace cell phone policy. Workers and their companies need to be aware of the NSC's recommendation and should make sure they are reducing the risk of an on-the-job crash related to an employee's use of a cell phone while driving.

The NSC recommends  employers put a policy in place barring both the use of both handheld and hands-free devices. The policy should apply to all employees, including to executives and other top-level professionals. The bottom line is no one should be using a handheld or hands-free cell phone while they are driving at any time.

In many cases, employers will expect their workers to be in constant communication. For example, an employer may provide a hands-free phone system or other hands-free communication devices that workers take with them when they are on the job. Even these hands-free or voice controlled systems can significantly increase the risk of a crash.

Recent studies from AAA have revealed even voice-based vehicle communications systems are dangerous for drivers to use while operating vehicles. In fact, hands-free systems may be even more of a distraction for drivers than handheld systems because they can take longer to use. Drivers who are using an electronic device via voice control or talking on a hands-free phone while they are driving can experience delayed reaction times and may experience inattention blindness, which occurs when they see objects that are in front of them but they do not actually process that those objects are there and that they need to stop for them. Plus, drivers receive a false sense of security with hands-free devices.

Employees must speak up and tell their employers they won't risk their lives when driving. Company leaders should ensure that they do not put their workers in a position where they have to use hands-free or handheld devices behind the wheel.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia.

Tips to Avoid Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Approximately every 16 minutes a tractor trailer accident occurs in the United States.  What may seem unusual is when and where most of these accidents take place.  The majority of these accidents happen on weekdays, 66 percent of them happen during daylight hours and 68 percent occur in rural areas.   Passenger cars and smaller vehicles are the most vulnerable in these types of crashes.  Ninety-eight percent of the time those killed are in the smaller vehicles rather than the truck driver. tractortrailergmhays

Tractor-trailers, also known as semi trucks, 18 wheelers or "big rigs," are an important part of our economy.  The purpose of tractor-trailer trucks is to carry goods and materials from one place to another.  There are two main components of a tractor trailer - the engine and the trailer.  The engine will tow the trailer on which the cargo or freight is carried.  Even without passengers and cargo, the truck itself weighs more than 10,000 pounds.  Depending on the kinds of goods being carried, the truck can weigh anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 pounds.  Accidents involving these mammoth machines often have tragic results.

Many rules and regulations have been designed for truck drivers and trucking companies to keep people safe while on the road.  Though in place, these safety rules set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are sometimes neglected.  This leaves the door open for an increase in accidents and fatalities.  Unsafe driving, exceeding speed limits, driver fatigue (driving too many hours without a break) and other negligent acts raise the risk of tractor-trailer accidents.  It is against the law for any truck driver to be on the road for more than 11 hours.

Tips For Passenger Vehicles

In an effort to reduce the risk of a collision with a tractor trailer, smaller vehicles should:

  1.   Avoid areas of limited visibility to the driver of the truck.  These areas include the "No Zones" - the areas behind and beside the tractor trailer.
  2.   Refrain from unsafe passing of a tractor trailer.
  3.   Do not drive between large trucks.
  4.   Do not merge inappropriately or execute quick lane changes in busy conditions.

Tractor-trailer accidents are in a separate category from other types of vehicle accidents because of the number of injuries and fatalities involved.  Because sometimes many parties are involved, there can also be several different insurance companies handling the claims.

If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a tractor trailer, the best advice is to immediately consult with an attorney.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1800-898-HAYS or visit to schedule a free consultation.

Teen Drunk Driving Endangers Atlanta Motorists

More teenagers die in motor vehicle accidents than because of any other cause. As the fall football season approaches and kids head out to games, followed by holiday parties and dances, there is a significant risk that young people will make a dangerous choice and get behind the wheel drunk. If this occurs, they endanger themselves and others. Victims of any collisions caused by impaired teens in Atlanta, Savannah, Duluth and across Georgia need to take legal action with the help of a personal injury lawyer. breathalyzer-465392-m

Preventing accidents before they happen is always the best option, and parents can make a big difference in reducing the chance of a collision if they know who their children are spending time with. This is because peer pressure is one of the major determining factors in how safe a young motorist is and whether he or she will take the risk of getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

Teen Drunk Driving a Serious Risk

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) aims to use positive peer pressure to help discourage young people from consuming alcohol and driving. MADD has organized a Power of You(th) program that gives kids the facts that they need to know about impaired driving. For example, just 30 percent of teenagers have consumed alcohol in the prior month according to surveys, while only 20 percent of teenagers binge drink alcohol. This is a smaller percentage of young drinkers than many people would think, and kids who know this information may feel less alone if they decide to turn down alcohol.

MADD also selects a group of National Teen Influencers who can help promote safe driving and prevent drunk driving in their local areas. The influencers are young people who are community leaders and who have taken initiative to join clubs or become part of organizations or events dedicated to the fight against drunk driving. Some of the influencers are people whose lives have been affected by alcoholic beverages. These young people can attend victim events and help MADD to illustrate the real-world effects of intoxicated driving.

Using positive peer pressure may work, because studies have shown that a teen is heavily influenced by his peer group. As a recent study published by the National Institute of Health indicated, a young person who has friends in the car is significantly more likely to become involved in a traffic collision as compared with a teen who does not drive with his peers in the vehicle. There is no similar corresponding increase in traffic accident fatalities among adults when they have friends or people from their peer group in their vehicle.

Further, the study also showed that less popular teens were susceptible to peer pressure in many realms of life, but that more popular teenagers were the most likely to face peer pressure when it comes to alcohol. Teens who are more popular are more likely to drink during adolescence. However, if teenagers are part of a peer group that disapproves of drunk driving, they are less likely to drive while impaired.

Parents should be aware of the impact of peer pressure and should be sure they know who their kids are attending football games, dances and other fall or holiday events with.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit to schedule a free consultation.

Distracted Drivers Increase the Risk of Atlanta Collisions

Many people who have embraced the use of electronic devices in their vehicle have instituted the use of hands-free devices. While some motorists have started using hands-free tools to interact with electronics as a result of laws limiting phone use, others are motivated by safety concerns. There are lots of drivers who believe that it is really dangerous to use a handheld cell phone but who think they are perfectly fine if they talk to their telephone or other electronic devices in their vehicle. mobile-phone-in-hand-1438231-1-m

Unfortunately, drivers in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah and across Georgia who believe hands-free is safer have been significantly misled and misinformed. A personal injury lawyer knows that using a hands-free phone or other device is just as dangerous. Several recent new studies underscore the danger to your health and safety of multitasking while driving. This risk can exist not just at the time when you are actually multitasking but can actually have a long-term impact on cognitive abilities.

Multitasking While Driving Can Hurt Your Health

Multitasking while driving is undoubtedly dangerous and Yahoo News reports on several new studies confirming that motorists who are distracted take their life into their hands. The studies were conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah.

One of the two studies examined infotainment systems that are now found in a huge variety of vehicles including Chevrolets, Mercedes, Fords, Hyundais, and Chrysler vehicles. Another study looked at the use of the virtual assistant Siri that is found on Apple devices. Both studies were intended to measure how distracted a driver was when using these systems, which do not require hands to operate.

Unfortunately, the research found drivers very distracted even without actually physically picking up a phone or entering data into an infotainment system. Systems were graded on a scale of one to five, with one representing the least distraction and five representing the most distraction. It turned out that using Apple was the most distracting of all. In driving simulators, in fact, drivers ended up rear-ending other vehicles twice. The Apple Siri phone service received a distraction rating of 4.14. This was the worst of all of the systems involved in the study.

The infotainment systems did not do much better. The MyLink, found in Chevrolet vehicles, received the worst rating at 3.7. Other systems did slightly better, but were still found to be more complicated than simply using a cell phone would have been in the first place.

While a car accident is the most obvious concern when it comes to risks of multitasking behind the wheel, Forbes recently published an article suggesting that multitasking has a long-term impact on the brain. Stanford researches found that "people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time." Furthermore, those who multitask frequently turned out to have a more difficult time organizing thoughts, were slower at filtering out unnecessary information and were slower at switching tasks. This means people who drive distracted all the time are likely to be the worst of all at this dangerous behavior.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit to schedule a free consultation.