What Motorists Need to Know about Georgia Distracted Driving Laws
Our Atlanta car accident lawyers have witnessed how distracted driving has become a serious threat to traffic safety, an issue which has drawn the attention of lawmakers, traffic safety experts, and the media. A disproportionate amount of this focus has been on text messaging and cellular phone calls, even though there are many other distractions that can cause auto accidents, such as grooming, fiddling with a GPS, or adjusting a car stereo. This blog post provides an overview of Georgia distracted driving laws designed to protect those on our roadways from inattentive drivers.
Georgia distracted driving laws like those in other states have made it a priority to discourage drivers from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Text messaging behind the wheel was banned for all Georgia drivers as of July 1, 2010. However, the distracted driving law is broadly worded so that it extends to other activities that divert a driver's attention from the safe operation of a motor vehicle. This broad language can extend to consuming food or beverages, reading a map, watching a movie, adjusting the car radio, and engaging in a conversation with passengers. The language of Georgia's distracted driving laws provide police officers and judges with a great deal of discretion in determining what constitutes a distraction.
While the text messaging ban prohibits all drivers from engaging in this form of electronic communication when driving, stricter rules apply for certain types of drivers. Novice drivers (motorists under 18 years of age) and school bus operators are prohibited from using cell phones to make and receive phone calls while behind the wheel. Although many other states ban talking on cell phones or restrict such use to hands-free calling with a bluetooth device, Georgia law does not expressly forbid adult drivers operating a vehicle (other than a school bus) from engaging in a phone conversation on a cell phone.
Even a cursory review of the impact of distracted driving suggests that stricter laws might be worth considering to promote public safety. Approximately nine people tragically die every day in the U.S. in collisions involving a distracted driver, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. In a recent one year period, 3,328 people sadly died in distracted driving crashes while another 421,000 people suffered injury according to the CDC. Further, the number of injury victims accounted for a nine percent increase over the prior year, so the problem is getting worse despite existing laws. The agency also indicates that distracted driving plays a factor in nearly one in five collisions that result in injury.
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If you have been injured in a collision caused by an inattentive driver, our Atlanta car accident lawyers work diligently to pursue the fullest compensation for our clients. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.