Texting While Driving
Drivers in the state of Georgia who operate a motor vehicle who are distracted greatly threaten the safety of other motor vehicle operators, motor vehicle passengers, and other individuals who might be on or near Georgia’s roads. One of the most common types of distracted driving is texting while driving, which causes a number of serious motor vehicle accidents that include serious injuries and even fatalities each year in the state of Georgia. For individuals who are involved in accidents that involve distracted driving due to texting, it is frequently essential to retain the services of a seasoned accident attorney who understands how these accident occur and how to best create a strong legal defense. Individuals often frequently benefit from understanding how these accidents occur.
The Statistics About the Danger Posed by Texting While Driving
The available statistics suggest just how negative an impact that texting while driving can have on causing motor vehicle accidents in the state of Georgia. A 2006 study discovered that eighty percent of motor vehicle collisions were caused by some type of distraction. One study found that motor vehicle drivers who frequently engaged in distracted driving patterns are more likely to be involved in an attention-related motor vehicle accident. Another study found that Atlanta was the sixth-least courteous city in the United States after thirty-five percent of the metro Atlanta area drivers admitted that they talked every day while talking on a cell phone.
Applicable Georgia State Law Regarding Texting While Driving
When the word “text” is used, this definition includes e-mails, instant messages, and internet usage as well as texts. Georgia law states that a “wireless telecommunication device” can include a cell phone, a text messaging device, a personal digital assistant, a stand alone computer, or any other similar wireless device used to receive wireless communication. Not included in the definition of “wireless telecommunication devices” are citizen band radios, commercial two-way radio communication devices, in-vehicle security, navigation devices, remote diagnostic system, and subscription-based emergency communications.
There are various laws in the state of Georgia that address how motor vehicle drivers are permitted to use wireless devices while operating a vehicle. These laws include the following provisions:
- Bus Drivers. Bus drivers in the state of Georgia are also not permitted to use cell phones.
- Drivers with a Learner’s Permit. Drivers who are under the age of eighteen and hold a learner’s permit or Class D license are strictly prohibited from using any types of wireless devices while operating a motor vehicle.
- Drivers with a Class C License. Motor vehicle drivers who are older than eighteen and hold a Class C license are prohibited from reading or writing text messages while operating a motor vehicle.
There are several situations in which individuals are almost always allowed to use wireless communication devices including while a motor vehicle is lawfully parked or when the device is in use to contact local emergency services in order to report an accident or crime.
This texting law is classified as a primary enforcement law, which means that law enforcement can issue a citation to motor vehicle operators for texting while driving even though the driver has not committed any other type of traffic offense.
In a number of cases each year, texting while driving functions as the basis for law enforcement to stop a motor vehicle driver and perform an investigation for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The resulting driving under the influence charges can be much more significant in nature than penalties arising from distracted driving.
There are also several federal laws that restrict how motor vehicle drivers are permitted to text. Federal employees are prohibited from texting while operating motor vehicles on government business or with government equipment.
Available Defenses to Texting Charges
Texting laws are often capable of being successfully defended provided that an individual retains the services of skilled legal counsel. Law enforcement in the state of Georgia has a particularly difficult time enforcing texting laws because it can be particularly difficult to determine if a motor vehicle operator is texting or talking on the phone. There are, however, significantly less potential defenses once an individual’s texting has caused a motor vehicle accident.
The Consequences of Texting
Georgia’s texting law results in individuals being penalized with a maximum fine of one hundred fifty dollars. This fine, however, is not the only type of negative consequence that motor vehicle operators face due to accidents caused by texting.
Applicable law in the state of Georgia holds that motor vehicle operators who are liable for car accidents must bear that cost that arises from the collision which can include lost wage,s medical expenses, property damage, and compensation for emotional damages. In accidents that involve wrongful deaths, the deceased’s survivors might even initiate a wrongful death claim against the liable party whose texting caused the accident.
Tips to Avoid Driving While Distracted
For many individuals, refraining from using their cell phone to text while driving can prove to be a particularly difficult challenge. Drivers are recommended to apply one of the following tips to reduce the risk of texting while driving:
Completely turn your cell phone off.
Download a cell phone application that prevents texting while driving.
Put your cell phone out of reach into an area like a trunk or glove box.
Turn your cell phone to “silent”.
Retain the Services of Experienced Georgia Legal Counsel
While texting is the cause of many distracted driving accidents in the state of Georgia, there are a number of other types of distracted behaviors that can also cause accidents. Some of these behaviors include: reaching into the back seat to retrieve or move an object, prolonged viewing of an object beside the road, reading while driving, and drivers who operate motor vehicles while extremely fatigued.
If you are charged with any type of distracted driving related offense in the state of Georgia, it is a wise idea to contact the legal counsel at Yeargan, Barber & Kert. Our law firm is very familiar with how these types of distracted driving accidents occur in the state of Georgia, the applicable law, and the best options for creating a strong legal strategy.