Following Too Closely
Following too closely tickets are often issued only when there has been a motor vehicle accident involving a rear-impact collision. Motor vehicle drivers who receive these citations, however, are not always guilty of following another motor vehicle too closely.
In a number of other situations, Georgia law enforcement is known to assign motor vehicle drivers citations for following too closely when in fact an accident investigation was not thoroughly performed and the individual was not following too closely. In several types of accidents, following too closely citations can be overused. While many individuals choose to plead no contest in a court of law to such a charge and hope for the best consequences, it is a frequently a better idea to retain the services of a skilled accident attorney who knows how to create a strong legal strategy in response to such a charge to avoid record of this incident being placed on the individual’s driver’s license.
Applicable Georgia Law
The applicable Georgia law states that motor vehicle operators in Georgia should not follow another motor vehicle more closely than is “reasonable and prudent”.
There are several additional applicable Georgia laws regarding following close which includes the following elements:
- Caravans. Motor vehicles that are driven on any roads outside of business or residential district in caravans must be operated so that sufficient space is allowed between each vehicle so that any other can enter and occupy space between these vehicles without danger.
- Motor Vehicles Pulling Another Vehicle. The driver of a motor vehicle which is pulling another vehicle which is following another motor vehicle must leave sufficient space between another pulling vehicle so that an overtaking vehicle can enter and occupy space without danger.
- Reasonable Driving. Motor vehicle operators are prohibited from following other vehicles more closely than is reasonable and prudent with respect to the speed of vehicles, the amount of traffic, and roadside conditions.
- Stopped or Slowed Vehicle. Motor vehicle operators in Georgia must know that the driver is still considered to be following if approaching a vehicle that is stopped or slowed to make a turn.
The Benefit of the “Three Second” Rule
There are several pieces of advice that motor vehicle drivers in the state of Georgia are advised to follow in order to avoid following other motor vehicles too closely. One of the best pieces of advice involves following the “three-second rule”.
Motor vehicle drivers can implement the “three-second rule” by using a fixed object on the road. When the driver’s vehicle passes the fixed object, the motor vehicle driver should slowly count from one to three. If the motor vehicle driver reaches the object before then that vehicle operator is following too closely. In adverse weather conditions and heavy traffic, motor vehicle drivers should make sure to double the three-second rule for the purposes of added safety.
If an individual is being followed too closely by another individual, the best idea is to move to another lane if at all possible. If there is not an available lane, motor vehicle drivers should slow down and allow the other drive to proceed ahead. Motor vehicle operators who drive off the ride should make sure to signal when the individual exits and returns to the road.
Available Defenses to Following Too Closely Citations
There are several types of defenses which individuals are often able to raise in response to following too closely citations.
In a number of cases, individuals are able to argue that law enforcement simply lacks sufficient evidence to prove that an individual is liable for following another motor vehicle too closely. If no one was seriously injured and law enforcement does not believe that either drugs or alcohol were present, law enforcement will not conduct a thorough investigation to determine how the incident occurred or which party was liable.
The assistance of a skilled attorney is often essential in creating a strong defense in response to following too closely charges.
The Consequences of a Following Too Closely Citation
There are a variety of penalties that individuals can face as the result of following too closely. Individuals can expect to have three points on their driver’s license. The accumulation of fifteen or more points on an individual in the state of Georgia’s driver’s license within a twenty-four month period can result in that individual’s driver’s license being suspended. A conviction for following too closely can also later be used against an individual in a lawsuit to establish liability for an accident. Individuals can also expect their insurance rates to increase as the result of being charged with following too closely. Furthermore, individuals who drive for a living might face employment difficulties due to being charged with this offense. Given these significant consequences, individuals charged with following too closely frequently find it essential to retain the services of skilled legal counsel.
Contact a Top Atlanta Traffic Accident Attorney
While there are certainly ways to fight a charge of following too closely, the best way to avoid a conviction of following too closely is for an individual to use their best judgment. If an individual thinks that they are following so close behind a motor vehicle that if the other driver were to break suddenly that a collision would occur, the individual is likely following too closely.
In many cases, following too closely citations are the default type of citation for rear end motor vehicle collision cases. A number of these cases involve motorists who were driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs because law enforcement requires an initial traffic offense in order to conduct a driving under the influence stop.
If you are charged with following too closely, it is often a wise idea to obtain the services of a knowledgeable traffic attorney like the legal counsel at Yeargan, Barber & Kert. Our legal counsel has significant experience helping individuals defend against following too closely citations. One of our seasoned traffic attorneys can advise you about the possible defenses used to respond to a charge of following too closely and will help make sure that your case reaches a positive resolution. Do not hesitate to contact our law firm today.