Distracted Driving: Understand Legal Consequences in Georgia

Distracted driving is an increasingly dangerous problem in Georgia. If you have been involved in an accident involving a distracted driver, you may want to discuss your accident with an experienced Marietta personal injury lawyer. 

Distracted Driving in Georgia: Are You Alert?

Distracted driving is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” 

NHTSA includes talking to other passengers, eating, drinking, caring for a child, soothing a pet, adjusting the music, phoning, texting, or using technology while driving. 

NHTSA reports that 3,522 people were killed by distracted driving in 2021. From 2012-2021, approximately 32,000 people died in crashes involving distracted driving.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month and an ideal time to tune in to habits and distractions that could contribute to a lack of focus when driving. You may notice an increased police presence this month, enforcing laws to keep roads safe.

What is the Hands-Free Law in Georgia?

Georgia law is clear about not using technology in what is commonly called the Hands-Free Law. This legislation was signed by Governor Nathan Deal on May 2, 2018, and took effect on July 18, 2018. The Hands-Free Georgia Act restricts both stand-alone electronic devices and wireless devices. 

Drivers cannot have a phone in their hand while driving. It is also not allowed to touch the phone with any part of the body while driving. 

Distracted Driving Laws in Georgia 

Georgia Law requires that drivers cannot write, read, or send text messages, e-mails, or social media content while on the road. Voice-to-text is still allowed in Georgia.

Watching videos is also prohibited while driving. The exception is for navigational/GPS videos. It is against the law to take pictures or record videos when driving a vehicle.

Both stand-alone and wireless devices can only be used when a vehicle is parked in a defined zone, such as a driveway or parking space. 

Georgia Law does not permit the use of electronic devices at a red light or on the shoulder of the road, even if the vehicle is in ‘park.’

What is Distracted Driving in Georgia?

Any activity that causes drivers to shift attention from driving can fall under this umbrella term. Texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, playing around with the stereo, adjusting entertainment or navigation can contribute to distraction. 

Texting is one of the most alarming distractions, as sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road. It may be for only five seconds. However, when the car is traveling 55 miles an hour, this is like driving the length of a football field with eyes closed. 

Pledge to End Distracted Driving in Georgia

NHTSA is raising awareness about distracted driving with a program entitled “Take the Pledge.” This is a way to commit to driving phone-free by never talking or texting on the phone while driving. Part of the pledge includes educating and speaking out if you are a passenger and the driver is distracted. It includes a commitment to encourage friends and family to drive phone-free.

Stay Safe in Georgia

Keep safe while driving in Georgia and commit to driving without the distracting use of technology. If you have been involved in an incident involving distracted driving, you may want to consider talking to an experienced attorney.

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