In today’s technological age, the issue of cell phones, texting, and driver distraction are significant concerns for lawmakers, enforcers, and Georgia drivers. In recent years, the law has changed a great deal regarding the use of mobile devices while operating a vehicle. Many states across the nation have implemented strict guidelines for use of these devices, and equally as strict penalties for violating the law. Georgia is among the states that have specific guidelines in place for mobile device use by motorists.
Georgia Law and Mobile Devices
Atlanta has been identified as one of the least-courteous cities in the United States, with research indicating that as many as 35 percent of Atlanta drivers text or use a cell phone while operating a vehicle. The primary danger of cell phone use or texting is distraction that can result in an automobile accident. Equally as damaging to an individual’s record and wallet is the possibility of criminal citations, charges, and penalties.
Here are some of the basics of what Georgia law has to say about cell phones and texting while operating a vehicle:
- Cell Phone Use – Cell phone use is defined as any handheld device, such as a mobile phone, tablet, or GPS device. Georgia motorists who are over 21 years old are restricted from using any handheld device unless he or she also wears a hands free device, such as a headset or bluetooth. Motorists who are under 21 years old are restricted from using any mobile device, hands free or otherwise.
- Texting – Georgia law mandates that all motorists be prohibited from texting while operating a vehicle. This law includes any mobile device, such as a laptop, cell phone, tablet, or other electronic item. The only exception to this law is for emergency responders and law enforcement that are parked or are responding to emergencies.
- Bus Drivers – All bus drivers in Georgia are prohibited from using mobile devices or texting while operating a bus. This law includes hands free devices.
How is Georgia Law Enforced?
Municipal, county, and state law enforcement officers enforce Georgia’s cell phone and texting laws. Because cell phone and texting laws are considered “primary laws,” law enforcement officers have the right to initiate a traffic stop based on witnessing an individual violating the cell phone and texting laws, even if no other violation is in progress. Such law enforcement interactions may result in a citation. Georgia law enforcement officers can also issue a citation if it is observed that an individual who committed another offense was using a cell phone or texting at the time.
The primary penalties for violating Georgia’s cell phone and texting laws include fines of up to $150 and one point added to the individual’s driving record. These penalties are subject to increase if it is discovered that other laws were being violated simultaneously, or if there are mitigating circumstances, such as injury or death to another person caused by the use of a mobile device.
If you want to avoid the consequences of a citation or criminal charge of using your cell phone or texting, including the possibility of losing your driver’s license, call Abt Law Firm, LLC right now. Let our experienced Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney be your guide as you fight cell phone or texting charges, or any charges including these offenses. Call our office 24/7 at (678) 582-2272 to set up a free consultation. We are happy to schedule a telephone consultation, or meet you in our office or at the jail where you are being held.