Distracted driving is an extremely dangerous activity. To operate a motor vehicle safely, drivers must keep their eyes, minds, and hands on the act of driving. Any action that takes the driver’s attention away from the road can lead to a serious accident, harming other motorists, passengers, pedestrians, and more on the road. It is illegal to drive while distracted in Georgia, and it is important for motorists to be aware of the state’s distracted driving laws to avoid a ticket and potential liability for an accident.
Georgia’s Definition of Distracted Driving
According to Georgia law, distracted driving involves any activity that could distract a motorist from safely operating his or her vehicle. This act may include talking on a cell phone, texting, eating, fiddling with a radio, and any other form of cognitive, manual, or visual distraction.
The following parties and situations are exempt from penalty under Georgia’s distracted driving laws.
First responders who are performing their duties
Employees or contractors of a utility service provider acting within the scope of their duties
People who are using a phone to report an emergency, crime, or traffic accident
The use of dashboard cameras
The use of cell phones for navigational purposes
The use of music streaming services that are preprogrammed and controlled through the vehicle’s stereo system
The use of radios, CB radios, and any other in-vehicle security, navigation, or remote diagnostic system
Penalties for Distracted Driving in Georgia
If a police officer catches someone driving while distracted in Georgia, that driver can face serious penalties. All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and not to engage in activities that will distract them from engaging in the safe operation of the car. If the responding officer believes that a driver’s actions qualify as negligent behavior, the driver will face the following penalties.
For a first conviction, drivers can receive a $50 fine plus one point on their license.
A second distracted driving conviction will result in a $100 fine plus two points on a driver’s license.
Third and subsequent offenses will yield the most severe penalties: a $150 fine plus three points on a driver’s license.
Additional consequences may occur if a driver causes an accident while distracted. Georgia is a fault insurance state, meaning that drivers whose negligent actions cause accidents are financially liable for the damages of their victims. Distracted driving is illegal and therefore qualifies as a negligent act. If a driver injured another person while distracted, the victim could file a lawsuit or insurance claim against him or her to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses.
What to Do After a Distracted Driving Accident
If you are injured by a distracted driver in Georgia, you have the right to pursue legal action against him or her. To protect your right to compensation and preserve evidence for your future claim, call 911 to report the accident and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Take photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, vehicle damage, and any debris, skid marks, or traffic signs. If there are any witnesses in the area, ask for their contact information.
After receiving treatment for your injuries, contact a Augusta distracted driving accident lawyer. An attorney can investigate your claim and help you hold the distracted driver accountable for your injuries. Speak to a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and strategize your next steps.