It was recently revealed in Athens-Clarke County Superior Court that a motorist was under the influence of several drugs and answering a cell phone when a September crash occurred that resulted in the death of a University of Georgia graduate student. The driver is now charged with two counts of first-degree homicide by vehicle and other offenses in connection with the accident.
The driver was also charged with endangering her daughter who was a passenger in the vehicle at the time the crash occurred. These charges were part of an 11-count indictment. One of the accident victims was killed while another suffered long lasting brain and spinal injuries.
Georgia was one of the very first states to create a ban on using a cellular phone while driving. While a large number of accidents each year occur due to motor vehicle drivers who are talking on cell phones, text messaging is another particularly dangerous activity that results in many motor vehicle accidents each year.
Applicable Georgia Law
The Atlanta metro counties each have different laws regarding cell phone use. While DeKalb County has banned drivers from talking on cellular phones while driving, Fulton and Cobb counties have not passed similar regulations. In recognition of the dangers presented while driving and texting, there are several laws in the state of Georgia that are designed to decrease the risks. Some of the applicable Georgia laws include:
- Text messaging while driving is illegal for all drivers,
- Drivers under 18 years old may not use cell phones while operating a motor vehicle, and
- School bus drivers may not use a cell phone while driving.
Georgia’s laws regarding talking on a cell phone and texting while driving are considered “primary” laws, which means that a law enforcement officer can stop an individual for such an offense without having witnessed any other type of violation. The text messaging regulations have been particularly difficult to enforce because law enforcement is required to determine that someone was texting at the wheel and not simply either dialing a number or talking on a cell phone. Exceptions exist for drivers who are lawfully parked or drivers who are using an electronic device in order to report an emergency.
The Resulting Penalties
If convicted of these types of offenses, violators will receive a $150 fine and one point placed on their driver’s license. Individuals who are 17 and younger will receive a double fine if they are also involved in a vehicle accident at the time of committing the violation.
The Services of a Skilled DUI Cell Phone Attorney
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident involving the use of a cell phone, the assistance of a skilled Atlanta accident attorney can prove essential in making sure that you receive the compensation you deserve. A talented attorney at Yeargan & Kert LLC knows how to create a strong legal strategy to make sure that a case resolves in the best possible manner.