Distracted drivers are responsible for thousands of injuries and deaths every year in the United States. In 2013, there were 424,000 injuries due to car accidents caused by distracted drivers. This statistic equals approximately 1 in every 5 accidents. Of those injuries, 3,154 people lost their lives.
A distracted driver falls under one or more of the following categories:
- Visual distraction (taking your eyes off the road)
- Manual distraction (taking your hands off the steering wheel)
- Cognitive distractions (taking your mind off driving)
Texting while driving includes all three of these categories, making it extremely dangerous. If you are driving at 55 miles per hour, the amount of time it takes you to look at a text takes your eyes off the road long enough for your automobile to cover an entire football field. The risk of traveling that distance in a fast-moving car without looking is bewildering. You could drive off the road, drive into another car, drive over pedestrians, drive over animals, or drive into a tree, sign, or another object. It is like driving your car while wearing a blindfold.
In the state of Georgia, the laws are specific and stern about texting while you are operating an automobile. Distracted driving is considered a Primary Law. This means an officer can pull you over without witnessing you committing any other crime. It is that serious.
Driving while texting Georgia will cost you a fine of $150.00, and you will have one point against your driving record. Under state law, you do not have to engage in sending a text to break the law. Reading texts is also considered driving while texting. However, the fine is not the important factor here. The point against a driver can cause insurance rates to rise, and if the driver is young, or has had other incidents on their driving record, it can cause them to lose their insurance altogether. Since insurance is required to operate an automobile, this is a costly problem.
It is important to note, that you are simply not allowed to text while operating an automobile. This means, even if the car is not moving at the time you are texting, you can receive a ticket. Reading email, texts, and sending messages are covered under this law. So, trying to check out your texts while sitting at a red light is breaking the law.
Novice drivers, which we identify as drivers who are under the age of 18, are more easily distracted by cell phone use. In the state of Georgia, a driver under the age of 18 cannot use a cell phone for calls, texts or any other reason while they are driving a car. This includes hand-held or hands-free devices. Again, this is a Primary Law, and no other illegal activity needs to be taking place for an officer to pull over the young driver and issue citations. The same restriction applies to the driver of a bus, (city or school bus) regardless of their age. Any cell phone use is prohibited while operating a bus in the state of Georgia, period.
For more information, contact a car accident attorney today.