Georgia’s Distracted Driving Laws and Their Impact on Vehicle Accident Injury Claims

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Understand the complexities of Georgia’s distracted driving laws with The Dressie Law Firm. Learn about liability in distracted driving accidents and how our attorneys can help injured victims.

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An Overview of Georgia’s Distracted Driving Laws 

Distracted driving means driving or operating a vehicle while engaged in another activity, such as texting, watching a video, or making phone calls.

Every year, distracted driving, especially among teen drivers, leads to road accidents that claim the lives of many while causing serious injuries to those who survive. To curb the alarming trend of traffic accidents and fatalities, Georgia has implemented comprehensive hands-free driving laws, placing strict limitations on the use of cell phones, wireless telecommunications devices, and stand-alone electronic devices while behind the wheel.

But what becomes of the victims of distracted driving accidents? Usually, when a person is injured due to the actions of others, they have the right to claim compensation from the at-fault party.

If you’ve been injured due to a distracted driving accident, you’ll be happy to know that Georgia’s distracted driving laws do not eliminate your right to claim compensation from the distracted driver or their insurance company even if the person is facing criminal charges or had been convicted for their actions. Rather, the laws can help you prove your case against distracted drivers, which is why understanding them is crucial to your distracted driving claim.

Our personal injury lawyers at the Dressie Law Firm are committed to your cause and can help you navigate the laws and compensation process to get the settlement you deserve.

Please read on as we explain the basics of Georgia’s distracted driving laws and how they impact your personal injury case.

    What Constitutes Distracted Driving Under Georgia Law?

    According to Georgia’s hands-free law codified in Title 40-6-241 of the Georgia Code, it is illegal for a driver to engage in any act that can distract them from safely operating the vehicle.

    Some of those acts specifically mentioned by the law include

    • Using a wireless telecommunications device while driving (although the use of headphones, earpieces, and other voice-based telecommunicators are permitted)
    • Texting and driving 
    • Recording or watching videos
    • Reaching for a phone or other wireless communication device in a way that requires the driver to change their sitting position or take off their seat belt (for commercial motor vehicle drivers).

    Other acts that could be construed as distracting include

    • Eating while driving 
    • Personal grooming activities, e.g., putting on makeup or hair brushing
    • Consulting a printed map or any other document that requires the driver to glance down periodically.

    These provisions aim to ensure that the driver’s attention is focused on driving. That way, they will be more aware of their surroundings and can adequately respond to any sudden issues or challenges that could arise while on the road.

    However, the Hands-Free Georgia Act exempts certain classes of individuals, such as local law enforcement or a utility service provider acting within their job function while responding to a utility emergency. Those in this category are protected from criminal liability even if they use a stand-alone electronic device or any other telecommunications device while driving.

    Penalties for Distracted Driving 

    Despite the law prohibiting distracted driving, there will always be people who do not comply with the law, thereby endangering others.

    The law prescribes the following criminal sanctions for those found guilty of distracted driving as follows:

    • For a first offender, the punishment is a fine of $50 or less.
    • A person who commits a second offense within 24 months will be made to pay a fine of $100 or less.
    • A third or subsequent conviction is punishable by a fine of $150 or less.

    Other Consequences of Distracted Driving 

    Under Georgia’s point system, drivers convicted of certain violations will have points added to their licenses. A driver with 15 points will have their license suspended.

    A distracted driving conviction also adds points to the driver’s license. The first violation is 1 point, the second is 2 points, and the third is 3 points.  This puts the distracted driver in danger of losing their license over time, especially if they have been guilty of other traffic violations.

    Georgia’s Distracted Driving Laws and Your Personal Injury Case

    Usually, to succeed in a personal injury claim, the injured party must establish the other party’s fault or negligence and that their negligence led to the injuries sustained.

    This involves proving that:

    • The other party owed the injured party a duty of care.
    • They breached their duty.
    • The injuries occurred as a direct consequence of the breach.

    Many personal injury claimants struggle to prove these elements. However, distracted driving claimants may find that a criminal charge or conviction under the Hands-Free Georgia Act and other distracted driving laws may be sufficient to prove the other party’s negligence.

    Even in the absence of a criminal charge or conviction, you can still prove distracted driving if that is the basis of your claim with evidence such as 

    • Police reports
    • Medical bills and records
    • CCTV images and videos
    • Eye witness accounts
    • Expert assessments and testimony.

    Gathering the necessary evidence is an important step that must not be overlooked if you hope to succeed and get the compensation you deserve.

    Consider getting experienced legal assistance to help you organize your case and navigate the legal process confidently.

    How the Dressie Law Firm Can Help

    The Dressie Law Firm boasts an experienced team of personal injury lawyers who have helped many people in your position secure monetary compensation for injuries and damages caused by others. We understand what getting compensation means to you and are prepared to stand by you as you fight for justice.

    We can help you

    • Collect the evidence needed for your distracted driving case to increase your chances of a positive outcome.
    • Initiate the claims process by filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, depending on which is appropriate. In either case, you can count on us for solid legal representation until the end.

    Because your distracted driving claim may involve criminal prosecution, you may need to liaise with law enforcement to build your civil claim. We can handle any relevant communication on your behalf to take some of the weight off your shoulders.

    We are dedicated to representing our clients’ interests and working to help them achieve the best possible outcome. We hope to be able to do the same for you.

    Contact Us Today

    Distracted driving is a menace and has been rightly criminalized by Georgia law. But that does not remove your right to claim compensation if you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident. Rather, when properly applied, the laws can support your claim and help get you the maximum compensation possible.

    Our lawyers at the Dressie Law Firm understand how to leverage the state’s distracted driving laws to help your personal injury case succeed.

    Contact us today and let us assess your case and help you decide on the next steps as you strive to enforce your rights and protect your interests.

    The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

    If you or a loved one is a victim of a reckless or negligent driver, we want you to know that the law is on your side and so is the Dressie Law Firm.

    Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!