Is Texting and Driving Illegal in Georgia?
You have a strong feeling that the person who caused your car accident was texting while they were driving. If this is true, it can certainly help any legal case you choose to pursue and boost your chances of getting fair compensation for your injuries.
Of course, proving another driver was texting, and that the texting caused your injuries and other losses, can get complicated. What do you have to do first to ensure that your traffic accident case is handled properly?
This article outlines what Georgia law says about texting and driving, how dangerous distracted driving can be, and how an experienced personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.
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Georgia Distracted Driving Law and a Driver’s Wireless or Stand-Alone Electronic Device
The short answer is yes — texting and driving is illegal. But what that means for your case is a bit more complicated.
Cell phone use behind the wheel is a form of distracted driving, and distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents in the United States. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 56% of motor vehicle crashes involved a confirmed or suspected distracted driver in 2019.
For example, texting while driving can take someone’s eyes off the road for five seconds. If the car is moving at 55 miles per hour, it will travel the length of a football field in that time. That’s plenty of time, space, and speed to make for a catastrophic accident.
While drivers can be distracted by anything, from the controls on the dashboard to a billboard on the side of the road, electronic devices (often called a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device) are among the most dangerous—and also the easiest to avoid. Further, their use is easier for experts to investigate than many other distractions, thanks to electronic records.
What Does the Law Say?
According to Georgia distracted driving law, it is illegal to:
- Use one’s body to hold or support a cellphone, global positioning system receiver (GPS), or other electronic device used to search, send, or receive messages or internet data while operating a vehicle.
- Write, send, or receive text-based data, such as text messages, email, or instant messages, on a wireless or stand-alone electronic device while operating a vehicle.
Drivers may use hands-free devices while driving. This includes voice-operated technology using speaker features or earpieces.
These distracted driving rules apply to all Georgia drivers. Commercial drivers, such as those making deliveries or hauling cargo in a semi-truck, must follow additional restrictions:
- Voice communication technology may not use more than one button to start or end the call.
- The driver must be able to remain in a properly seated driving position and belted when accessing and operating any communication technology.
Distracted driving laws do not apply as usual when a driver is reporting an accident or other roadway emergency. They also don’t apply to police officers, firefighters, and other first responders performing official duties.
Proving Another Driver was Texting During a Motor Vehicle Crash
Despite the existence of electronic records, proving an at-fault driver was texting at the time of the accident is not easy.
The report of a law enforcement officer may contain helpful information, though officers don’t always know if a driver was texting at the time of the crash (and drivers aren’t always eager to share that information even when asked).
Obtaining cell phone records, including time and kind of use, often requires jumping through a hoop or two, such as issuing a subpoena (a demand for evidence) or warrant.
Another challenge is the passage of time. Cell phone companies keep records, but not forever. The longer it’s been since the accident, the more buried the relevant records might become. If it’s been years, the data may no longer exist.
Beyond any hard evidence, the at-fault driver may come up with any number of excuses or justifications for why they were using a cell phone while driving.
Going up against all of this on your own is challenging, especially if you’re healing from serious injuries.
Can You Sue if You’re Injured in a Car Accident Caused by Texting and Distracted Driving?
Any motor vehicle crash that was the fault of another individual and caused by their negligent actions (including distracted driving) can result in a lawsuit. You should never bear the burden of the damages and medical bills you incurred due to someone else’s reckless actions behind the wheel.
If someone chooses to text and drive and injures you or a family member, it is their financial responsibility to make sure your medical bills, treatments, lost income, and other damages are taken care of.
However, at-fault drivers and their insurance companies will often try to dodge this responsibility, leaving injured people in financial and physical turmoil. If initial negotiations break down, a lawsuit is usually the next step.
That is where a premier law firm comes in to help. Hiring the right personal injury attorney can make all the difference in a distracted driving car accident case.
Your lawyer will gather evidence, fight for your legal rights, and do all they can to secure the compensation you need if you were injured in a texting and driving accident.
The Brown Firm Holds Those Who Text and Drive Responsible
At The Brown Firm, we are dedicated to protecting the injured. Those who endanger others by texting behind the wheel must be held responsible, and we have the experience to make that happen.
At your free initial consultation, we’ll listen to your story and figure out the best plan forward. To schedule yours today, call (800) 529-1441 or use the easy contact form on our website. We look forward to hearing from you!
Georgia traffic safety facts: distracted driving. (2021, May). Shepherd Center. Retrieved from https://www.shepherd.org/docs/Injury%20Prevention/2019-distracted-driving-georgia-traffic-safety-facts.pdf
GA Code § 40-6-241 (2020)
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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