We all know that utilizing a cellular phone whereas working a car will increase the danger of an accident. Of course, many achieve this anyway. However, these people ought to this dangerous conduct is prohibited in Georgia. Subject to a couple of exceptions, motorists within the state are prohibited from utilizing hand-held gadgets whereas driving. Yes, that features cell telephones.
The “Hands-Free Georgia Act” took impact statewide in 2018. As a rule of thumb, the regulation prohibits any activity that requires you to contact your cellphone whereas behind the wheel. Read on to be taught extra concerning the regulation, exceptions, and penalties.
Chances are many Georgia drivers proceed to use their cell telephones whereas behind the wheel in violation of the regulation. If you might be injured in a crash attributable to certainly one of these drivers, you might be probably entitled to compensation. The injury attorneys at Butler Kahn are prepared to consider your case. Call right this moment for a free consultation.
What Is the Hands-Free Georgia Act?
The Hands-Free Act went into impact on July 1, 2018. As the name suggests, the purpose of the regulation is to make sure that drivers hold both palms on the wheel. To that finish, it prohibits motorists from holding or in any other case touching their telephones with any body half whereas driving. Specifically, the Hands-Free Act prohibits the next activities whereas driving:
- Reading, typing, and sending textual content messages
- Viewing or recording movies
- Posting on social media
- Using the web
While listening to music in your cellphone just isn’t prohibited, motorists should use gadgets that enable for palms-free listening and programming. For occasion, a driver can use their cellphone to hear to music, however they can not decide up their cellphone to change the tune whereas driving. Drivers are additionally prohibited from listening to music by means of earbuds or headphones.
Similarly, the regulation doesn’t prohibit drivers from utilizing GPS navigation gadgets and doesn’t apply to other digital gadgets equivalent to radios, prescribed medical gadgets, and in-car safety and navigation programs.
Why Was the Hands-Free Law Enacted?
The Hands-Free Act was passed in response to an unusually high number of auto accident fatalities within the previous year. According to one regulation evaluation article, there have been 1,559 lives lost to roadway fatalities in 2017, the fourth highest depend amongst all states for that year.
In explicit, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety explains that there had been an uptick in rear-finish collisions, single-car accidents, and collisions involving motorists between the ages of 15 and 25. Georgia authorities made it clear that distracted driving was the main reason behind many of those accidents.
States that had beforehand applied related palms-free driving legal guidelines reported a 16 percent lower in motorized vehicle accident fatalities. Georgia passed the Hands-Free Act within the hope of attaining related outcomes.
Common Injuries Caused by Distracted Drivers
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving leads to hundreds of deaths and lots of of hundreds of injuries each year. Distracted driving at high speeds is especially harmful. Some of the commonest injuries from accidents involving distracted drivers embody:
- Head and mind injuries
- Back and spinal wire injuries
- Facial and dental injuries
- Broken and fractured bones
- Cuts and puncture wounds
- Sprains, strains, bruises
- Loss of limb
- Wrongful dying
- Emotional trauma
Exceptions to the Hands-Free Law
There exists a restricted exception to the regulation within the occasion of an emergency. It is legal to use your cellphone to dial 911 should you witness a car accident or against the law whereas behind the wheel. Further, you may use your cellphone whereas driving when dealing with a medical emergency.
You may also use your cellphone behind the wheel if you’re lawfully parked. However, lawful parking doesn’t embody being stopped in traffic or at an intersection.
There exist some extra specialised exceptions as nicely. For instance, regulation enforcement, firefighters, and utility employees responding to a utility emergency are all allowed to contact their telephones whereas driving.
Is It Still Legal To Talk on My Phone While Driving?
Yes, if you are able to do so with out touching your cellphone. For instance, you may nonetheless make calls whereas driving if you should utilize Bluetooth, an earpiece, wi-fi headphones, or a speakerphone. Wireless headphones and earpieces can be utilized solely to make calls. They may not be used for any other objective, together with listening to music.
Am I Required To Purchase a Hands-Free Accessory?
No. The regulation doesn’t require you to buy a palms-free accent to use your cellphone. You are merely prohibited from bodily dealing with your cellphone whereas driving.
What Are the Fines for Violating the Hands-Free Georgia Act?
The Hands-Free Act penalizes violations utilizing a point system. The extra factors you accumulate, the harsher the penalties.
If you might be convicted of violating the regulation as a primary-time offender, you will have one point added to your license and pay a $50 wonderful. If you break the regulation a second time inside two years of the primary offense, you will have a further point added and pay a $100 wonderful.
Finally, should you break the regulation a 3rd time inside two years of the primary violation, you will have a 3rd point added and pay a $150 wonderful. If you might be convicted three or extra occasions in a single year, you could possibly face whole fines of $300 or extra, in addition to potential suspension of your driver’s license.
Contact a Georgia Car Accident Lawyer
If you had been injured in a car accident in Georgia attributable to a distracted driver, you might be probably entitled to compensation. Among other issues, you could possibly be compensated on your medical payments, lost wages, ache, and struggling.
The legal group at Butler Kahn is dedicated to defending the rights of injured victims and serving to them safe the monetary compensation they deserve. If you had been injured by a distracted driver, contact our office for a 100 percent free consultation with a Georgia car accident lawyer right this moment.