Georgia’s hands-free law restricting cell phone use during driving was enacted in July 2018. The number of citations has certainly jumped since then. But this doesn’t mean the law has had its intended effect. The number of fines suggests that most people are disregarding it, meaning distracted driving remains a problem. When a driver violates the law, he or she can cause serious injury to someone else. Understanding the law can help accident victims in Smyrna, Georgia know how to demand the compensation they need.
Here’s what all drivers need to know about the hands-free law:
- Holding a phone while driving is illegal for any non-emergency reason
- Texting, emailing, or surfing the web on your phone while driving is illegal
- You cannot touch your phone while driving except to receive a phone call
- You cannot listen to music through earphones or earbuds while driving
- Hands-free calls, including with a headset, are allowed
- Voice-only texting is allowed
- You may use a cell phone GPS as long as you program the address before you start driving
A Smyrna, Georgia automobile accident attorney can help you understand this change to the traffic laws. One of the principal reasons this law was enacted was to eliminate texting and web surfing while driving. But not everyone understands what the law entails.
For instance, “holding” the phone includes placing it in your lap or on any part of your body. This is not allowed. You may place the phone on the seat next to you, in a cup holder, or on a phone mount. Many vehicles come equipped with Bluetooth devices that allow drivers to use their audio systems to make calls. That is also allowed.
“Touching” the phone is also not allowed except to receive a call. Even then, you cannot hold the phone and your call must be conducted hands-free.
The law generally allows you to use your phone while you are parked. But take note, this is not the same as being stopped at a stop light or stop sign. As long as you are legally parked you can text, surf the web on your phone, and so forth.
There are more provisions of the law, but the point is to cut down on distracted driving. Commercial and school bus drivers face even stricter regulations. When accidents involve these drivers, a different set of rules or laws may come into play.
Smyrna, Georgia car accident attorneys know these rules can be complicated, but they are the law. Drivers who ignore the rules endanger those around them. Whether Georgia’s hands-free law actually prevents traffic fatalities and injuries remains to be seen. It may not matter, for liability purposes, whether the victim can prove the other driver was illegally using a phone. Reckless, negligent, and distracted driving are already illegal, and there is often other proof of those behaviors.
But if a driver is found to have violated Georgia’s hands-free law, it could make the victim’s accident case easier. The most powerful way to do this is through cell phone records. These records may be able to demonstrate that someone was texting immediately before the crash. Obtaining these records will require a subpoena, with which a Smyrna, Georgia automobile accident attorney can assist.
Whether you have proof the other driver used the phone at the time of the accident, you need an attorney. Demanding compensation requires proving the other driver was negligent. You also have to demonstrate your necessary damages, such as medical bills. The sooner you take legal action, the quicker you can recover for your injuries.
Representing Automobile Accident Victims Throughout Georgia
The attorneys of Schneider Hammers are experienced with all types of automobile accidents. Where possible, we will show to the court that a driver broke the law at the time of an accident. We do what it takes to win the maximum compensation we can for our clients. Give us a call today to discuss your accident.