Texting and Driving: It’s Not Worth the RiskWritten on July 21, 2014
By now it’s not a secret that you shouldn’t text and drive. Not only is it dangerous to you, and those on the road with you, it’s also illegal. Georgia has had a “texting while driving law” on the books for several years. The texting ban added to an already existing “distracted driving” law.
Let’s face it: People do a lot of things while driving other than paying attention to the road.Every day on Atlanta’s highways, folks routinely use the drive time to talk on their cell phones, eat while driving, read and even groom themselves. There are enough accidents on Georgia roads without additional distractions. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were over 22,000 accidents in Cobb County alone in 2012. More than 7,000 of those involved injuries.
The texting law, which can result in a ticket and a point on your driver’s license, doesn’t just apply to texting. Other than using your cell phone to talk on, virtually every other function a cell phone is capable of is illegal to do while behind the wheel. That includes texting, reading emails and sending or receiving data. All drivers under the age of 18 are banned from using a cell phone for any purpose.
A popular misconception is that you can use your phone while stopped at a red light or while sitting in traffic. That’s not the case. You can be stopped and given a ticket even if you are sitting at a traffic light or stuck in an Atlanta traffic jam. The penalty for such a ticket is $150 and one point on your driver’s license. Georgia’s texting law is a primary ban. That means a police officer can pull you over if he/she sees you texting. The officer doesn’t have to have another reason for initiating a traffic stop if you are seen using your phone for something other than talking.
The challenge for law enforcement is to have probable cause that a driver was actually using the phone for something other than dialing and chatting. Most people, if they see a police car, simply put down their phone. Just because you don’t think you will get a ticket doesn’t make using your phone any safer. Local news outlets routinely report on accidents involving distracted drivers. Earlier this year, for instance, a driver was killed in a wreck moments after making a Facebook post.
There are also potential civil liabilities for injuries resulting from a distracted driving accident. If you have been injured due to another driver’s negligence, or were the driver at fault in an accident, effective legal counsel is critical. The attorneys at The Silverbach Group are here to work for you. Call immediately if you are in need of a consultation. You can reach us at 770-635-0334.