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Proving Distracted Driving in Georgia: Legal Challenges and Evidence

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What Is Distracted Driving and What Makes It So Dangerous?

As defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from driving. It may involve texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, conversing with passengers, adjusting the stereo, applying makeup, or anything that takes the driver’s attention away from safely operating the vehicle. Texting is a particularly alarming form of driver distraction, as it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention. NHTSA reports that sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds, equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. In the U.S., in a recent year, 3,142 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

What Is the Law Against Distracted Driving in Georgia?

The Hands-Free Georgia Act went into effect on July 1, 2018. As stated by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, drivers are prohibited under the act from:

  • Having a phone in their hands or touching any part of the body while driving
  • Reading, writing, or sending text messages, emails, social media content, or other internet data while on the road, even with hands-free technology (voice-to-text is allowed)
  • Watching videos behind the wheel of a vehicle (navigational/GPS videos are allowed)
  • Using smartphones or electronic devices to record videos on the road (continuously running dash cams are allowed)

Drivers are allowed to listen to streaming music while driving, provided it does not include videos, but they are not allowed to touch their phones to activate or program any music streaming app, which must be done before getting on the road. Penalties for violations of the Hands-Free Georgia Act include:

  • First conviction: $50 and 1 point assessed against the driver’s license
  • Second conviction: $100 and 2 points
  • Third or subsequent convictions: $150 and 3 points

How Can You Recover Compensation When a Distracted Driver Causes a Crash?

Distracted driving is extremely dangerous but, unfortunately, typical behavior today. If you have been hit by a distracted driver, it is in your best interests to speak with an experienced Georgia car accident lawyer right away. The burden of proof is on you to show that the driver who hit you was distracted. Your attorney can investigate your accident and gather evidence to support your claim. The types of evidence that may be used to prove distracted driving include:

  • Admission of guilt: In many cases, after an accident, the at-fault driver will apologize and offer an explanation of how the crash occurred, for example, “I was checking my phone to see who was calling,” or “I was dealing with my screaming toddler in the back seat.” This type of admission will be included in the police report if made in the presence of the police officer on the scene.
  • Eyewitness testimony: An eyewitness may have seen the at-fault driver texting, talking on a cell phone, or engaging in some other form of driver distraction. Testimony of one or more such witnesses can be used to help prove distracted driving.
  • Phone records: If the driver distraction involves a cell phone, your attorney can subpoena the cell phone records of the other driver. These records may be used to establish cell phone use at the time of the crash.
  • Dashcam or other camera footage: Camera footage from a dashcam on your vehicle or another vehicle or footage from a surveillance camera at a nearby business may reveal the driver’s dangerous, distracted driving behavior. 

Why Choose The Scott Pryor Law Group?

The attorney you choose to represent you can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. At The Scott Pryor Law Group, we have devoted our practice to helping injured people recover the compensation they deserve. Founding attorney Scott Pryor has been listed among Georgia Super Lawyers®, awarded membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named among the top 1% of trial lawyers nationwide. Call us at (404) 474-7122 if you have been injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver.

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