The Legal Consequences of Distracted Driving in Georgia

Georgia has powerful laws against distracted driving, penalties for violating these laws, and a process in place for victims of distracted driving to seek compensation. 

If you or a loved one has been involved in a distracted driving incident, there may be a lot of questions about how to seek justice. Talking with an experienced Marietta personal injury lawyer can be a good place to start getting answers. 

Understanding Georgia Laws Against Distracted Driving

According to Georgia Code 40-6-11, drivers are not allowed to use their hands or any body part while talking on the phone. The law, known as Georgia’s Hands-Free Law, is a stronger regulation than the law before 2018. 

Voice-to-text communication is still allowed, but it is not legal to use hands-free technology while on the road. This includes writing, reading, sending text messages, e-mails, social media, and other internet data. It also includes recording or watching videos or taking photos while behind the wheel. 

The law has exceptions for drivers responding to emergency and emergency personnel as well as motorists who pull to the side of the road and are fully parked.

City ordinances take hands-free law even further. For example, Marietta, Georgia has a city ordinance that makes it illegal to hold a mobile device while driving.

Primary Enforcement Governs Distracted Driving Laws 

Primary enforcement means that an officer can pull a person over for the offense without having to witness the violation. If the police officer or state trooper witnesses the action of driving and texting, they are entitled to issue a ticket. 

Penalties for Violating Georgia Distracted Driving Laws

Penalties for distracted driving include specific fines and points, fatalities, and liability.

The penalty for distracted driving is straightforward. For the first conviction, violators are subject to a $50 fine and 1 point against their driving record. Second convictions within 24 months are fined $100 and 2 points. Third or more convictions within two years are fined $150 and 3 points.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, distracted driving crashes have risen by over 400% in the last ten years. According to the data from the Georgia Highway Safety Department, in Cobb County, there were 64 fatalities in 2021, compared to 53 in 2017.

Distracted driving can be considered grounds for “fault” in a car accident. Fault means that a distracted driver can be held fully responsible for causing an accident as a result of being distracted.

What to Know When Seeking Compensation in Georgia

If a distracted driver has caused an accident, they may be held responsible in a lawsuit or an insurance claim. A knowledgeable lawyer investigates each accident on a case-by-case basis. Evidence is gathered including police reports, eye-witness testimony, security camera footage, and medical expense bills. 

If a settlement can be reached with insurance companies, attorneys negotiate on behalf of their clients for fair compensation. If a settlement is not reached, a lawyer can represent their clients in court.

Time to Talk to a Lawyer Marietta, Georgia

If a distracted driver has injured you or a loved one, talking with an experienced Marietta personal injury lawyer may be a good first step. A skilled attorney may be able to evaluate the specific circumstances and discuss potential legal avenues.

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