Did you know that thousands of people are killed in car accidents due to distracted driving?
There are even more people who get serious injuries from it.
The scariest part is that distracted driving can be that one text message you sent while driving.
Small, simple actions that lead to unfortunate events.
This is why the State of Georgia has implemented a distracted driving law.
And this is why we’re going to tell you everything you should know about that law, its penalties, and other forms of distractions.
Plus, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic.
So shall we?
Distracted Driving Laws in Georgia
In general, everything that removes your focus from the road is considered distracted driving. These distractions can be manual, visual, or cognitive.
However, with the increasing use of cell phones, the State of Georgia focused its distracted driving law on electronic mobile devices.
Well, if you think about it, using your phone while behind the wheel hits all 3 distraction points:
- Visual – you take your eyes off the road to look at your screen
- Manual – you take your hands off the steering wheel to type your message
- Cognitive – your thoughts move away from driving as you think about what’s on your phone
The distracted driving law in Georgia, also known as the Hands-Free Law or Cellphone Law, states that drivers are not allowed to:
- Have a wireless telecommunication device on their hands or any part of their body.
- Write, read, or text using any wireless telecommunication device. This includes those sent through the Internet.
- Watch a video or a movie on a hand-held electronic device.
- Record or broadcast using any wireless telecommunication device.
Wireless telecommunication devices include phones, tablets, personal assistants, laptops, and any stand-alone electronic device.
Now, there are a few exceptions to this law, including:
- When reporting an accident or calling for medical help, fire, or crime
- When such devices are used by utility service employees or contractors when responding to a utility emergency
- By a police enforcer, firefighter, or medical personnel performing their duties
- If the motor vehicle is lawfully parked
Keep in mind that your vehicle should be lawfully parked. This does NOT mean when you are stopped while in traffic or during a stoplight.
Another thing that you should know is that this law is primary enforcement. This means that a police officer can stop you on the road if spotted disobeying this law.
Distracted Driving Penalties in Georgia
As with any other law, if you violate it, you will face penalties.
Here are the distracted driving penalties in Georgia according to the number of offenses you’ve made within a 24-month period:
- First offense – fine up to $50
- Second offense – fine up to $100
- Third and subsequent offenses – fine up to $150
Of course, if the distracted driving incident caused serious injuries or death, the court may decide to increase the penalties and may even give a suspension on your driver’s license.
Other Distracted Driving Scenarios to Avoid
Distracted driving does not just involve mobile phones or other hand-held electronic devices. There are other actions that may cause you to be distracted while driving.
Here are some examples:
- Getting into a heated conversation with someone in the car or with someone on a mounted device
- Getting something from your bag in the passenger seat or the rear seat
- Taming or managing your children
- Putting on or readjusting your makeup
- Eating, drinking, or smoking
- Reading a map or checking the directions on your phone
- Tinkering with controls on the dashboard
Now, is it illegal to do these things?
The distracted driving law in Georgia does not mention it. However, there is a law that states…
“a driver should exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state and should not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle.”
But whether it is illegal or not, it’s always best to avoid these other scenarios. I mean, it is for you, your passengers, and everyone else’s safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got more questions about Georgia’s distracted driving laws? Here are a few FAQs.
Is there no way to send that message while driving in Georgia?
There is. You can send a message IF no part of your body touches the phone. In other words, your mobile phone should be in hands-free mode, either mounted on the dashboard or placed in the cup holder.
How many points are given for distracted driving in Georgia?
For the first offense, you are given 1 point. For the second offense, you’re given 2 points. The third and subsequent offenses give you 3 points for every instance.
Do you have to go to court if you break the distracted driving law in Georgia?
Yes, if you are given a citation, you need to go to traffic court. Make sure to bring your citation with you.
If you want to reduce the points given to you or want to fight the ticket altogether, you can show proof that you have purchased accessories that will show you’ve gone hands-free.
When did Georgia become a hands–free state?
Georgia implemented its Hands-Free Law on July 1, 2018. The reason for this was that there was an increase in car crashes, damages, and injuries due to distracted drivers.
As you can see, it is a rather new law, placed there to make sure that everyone stays safe on the road. So because of that, you should obey this law.
That was everything you need to know about the Georgia distracted driving law.
To be sure, there can be new laws that come in, all to keep the Georgia roadways and highways a safer place.
But the main thing is to just keep yourself from being distracted. This way, you save yourself the trouble, and you make Georgia’s highways safer for everybody.
You won’t regret being a safe and responsible driver!