How do police enforce texting while driving laws?
Police often have trouble enforcing texting while driving laws because they need to have probable cause to pull someone over for it and rarely see people engaged in the act. However, you could still face stiff penalties if you are found to be texting while driving. Knowing what the dangers of texting while driving are and potential penalties could help you to stay safe on the roads and resist the urge to send off that text that could change your life.
Is texting while driving legal in Georgia?
Texting while driving is illegal in Georgia, which falls under the range of activities that are prohibited under its distracted driving law, the Hands-Free Georgia Act, Code Section 40-6-241. Passed in 2018, the law prescribes a wide range of activities that drivers might do behind the wheel, including the following:
- Coming into contact with their phone while talking and driving
- Watching videos while driving
- Listening to streaming music with videos while driving
- Writing, reading, or sending text messages or emails while driving
- Recording while driving (unless it’s via dashcam)
Drivers may use GPS technology so long as their device requires one touch to operate. This may include their cell phone so long as they aren’t using it for any of the proscribed purposes.
What are the penalties for texting while driving in Georgia?
The penalties for texting while driving in Georgia increase with each violation and conviction, including the following:
- 1st Conviction: $50 and 1 point on your driver’s license
- 2nd Conviction: $100 and 2 points on your driver’s license
- 3rd Conviction (and beyond): $150 and 3 points on your driver’s license
- Commercial drivers: The above penalties along with up to $2,750 civil penalty.
In the case of a first-time offense, a driver could get the charge dropped if they purchase a device that allows them to text hands-free via voice and shows this to the court. However, drivers may also be found guilty of reckless driving if the incident warrants the charge. They may also face vehicular homicide charges if they were in an accident while texting and driving.
What happens if you’re in an accident that involved texting while driving?
If you happen to be in an accident while you’re texting while driving, you could be ruled to have been at fault, even if the other driver hit you. On the other hand, if the other driver who collided with you was texting during the accident, it will be harder for them to establish that they aren’t at fault for the accident, or at least don’t hold a substantial portion of responsibility for the accident. If you’ve been involved in an accident, then it’s important to speak with a Georgia car accident lawyer to represent you and fight on your behalf.
Are there any exceptions to the distracted driving law?
There are a handful of exceptions to the Distracted Driving Law. These apply mostly to emergency workers and law enforcement, but may also apply to drivers who are reporting an accident or other emergency. The Distracted Driving Law doesn’t apply to drivers who are parked.
Texting while driving is highly dangerous, and while it can be difficult to be pulled over for it, you could still endanger yourself and others on the road if you do it. In the event that you are in an accident, your phone records could be subpoenaed, which may reveal that you were texting during your crash. Likewise, if you saw that someone was texting while driving when they hit your vehicle, you should inform your attorney and law enforcement to establish a trail of evidence that can protect you during the claims process.
Story by Sarah Douglass. She has been writing all her life. What started as a passion soon became her life goal. At such a young age, she has already faced and overcame many obstacles. The instinct she developed through her life experience is coupled with an in-depth knowledge of the legal field. Sarah sees writing as a means to connect to others and help them overcome hard times.