If you face charges for distracted driving or if a distracted driver’s negligence leaves you with injuries, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Kaufman Law, P.C.. Distracted driving is the act of driving a car while engaging in another activity, like texting or speaking on the phone. Georgia state law prohibits every driver from texting and driving. State law does allow, however, some drivers to talk on the phone, but that might change soon.
The Georgia Legislature recently approved a bill requiring drivers in Georgia to use hands-free technology when talking on the cell phone and driving. If signed by the governor, the law will go into effect July 1, 2018.
The bill would also ban the use of any technology that takes a driver’s eyes off the road. Fines for distracted driving double to $300, and repeat distracted drivers receive harsher penalties on their driver’s licenses. Until that bill becomes law, we will focus on the current distracted driving laws for both underage and adult drivers, and the common accidents the laws are trying to prevent.
4 Common Teen Driver Distractions
There are a lot of potential driving distractions today, and that’s no different for new drivers. From phones, radios, other passengers, and more, there are myriad ways to drive distractedly. In fact, the most common factors that lead to accidents for drivers under the age of 18, according to video research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, include:
- Looking at something inside or outside the vehicle accounts for nearly 20% of teen crashes.
- Interacting with passengers accounts for 15% of teen car crashes.
- Cell phone use causes 12% of teen auto accidents.
- Dancing/singing to music is a factor in 8% of teen accidents.
Distracted Driving Restrictions and Fines for Underage Drivers
Drivers under the age of 18 can’t look at or talk on any wireless devices including cell phones, tablets, and other similar technology, in any manner. Exceptions include emergencies, accidents, and situations that require immediate communication. Underage distracted driving violation penalties include:
- Underage distracted driving ticket. When police pull over someone under the age of 18 for texting or talking on a phone while driving, the penalty in Georgia is a $150 fine.
- Underage distracted driving accident. When a person under 18 is involved in a distracted driving accident, the penalty increases to a $300 fine. The teen driver will also receive one demerit point on his or her driver’s record after causing an accident by using a cell phone or other similar distraction.
Facts About Texting and Distracted Driving Accidents in the U.S.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) updates its website with traffic safety ideas and facts, including the following statistics regarding distracted driving or accidents involving cell phone usage:
- A total of 3,450 people died in distracted driving car accidents in 2016.
- Similar accidents injured approximately 391,000 in 2015.
- Nearly 481,000 drivers use his or her cell phone while driving during daylight hours.
Distracted Driving Restrictions and Fines for Adult Drivers in Georgia
Adult motorists (who aren’t driving a commercial car) may speak on a cell phone while driving in Georgia today. A driver may not text, email, or look at a phone and drive. Penalties may include:
- Adult distracted driving violation penalties typically include an automatic misdemeanor for texting or other cell phone usage that causes eyes to look away from the road. The penalty for this kind of distracted driving is a $150 fine and one point on a driver’s record.
- Reckless driving. Officials may also charge texting and driving violators with reckless driving if the offender puts other drivers in danger.
- Vehicular homicide. If a distracted driving violation results in a fatal accident, a Georgia court can charge the at-fault driver with serious charges that may include jail time.
If a police officer pulls you over for texting or you’re involved in a distracted driving accident in Atlanta, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Kaufman Law, P.C., for a free consultation.