Georgia’s hands-free law went into effect on July 1, 2018. It prohibits the use of hand-held devices, including cell phones, but also computers, tablets, GPS, MP3 players and more. It covers a lot, but the penalties are weak.
The dangers of distracted driving are on par with drunk driving, but the laws in most states do not treat it as such. In many states, it’s not even a primary offense.
In Georgia, drivers can be pulled over for using a hand-held device. We won’t know the full numbers until late next year, but the current estimate is that traffic deaths have gone down by three percent since the law went into effect.
Penalties for Hands-Free Violations
The penalties for violating Georgia’s hands-free law are not likely to be much of a deterrent to those addicted to their phones:
- 1st offense – $50 fine and one point, can have charges dropped if you can prove to court that you have obtained a device that allows you to talk hands-free
- 2nd offense – $100 fine and two points, but it only counts as a second offense if it happens within two years of the first offense
- 3rd offense – $150 fine and three points, but again, it only counts as a third offense if it happens within two years of the first offense
- A driver who gets 15 point on their license within a two-year period, for any reason, faces license suspension.
According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, 24,682 were issued during the first year that the law was in effect.
Will It Help Your Case?
The penalties may not do much to prevent distracted driving, but the law does have some favorable effects for victims of distracted drivers who seek compensation. Violators who choose to pay their tickets instead of going to court are admitting guilt, and that can be used against them in your civil suit. That does not mean your case will be a slam-dunk, you will still have to prove that the distraction led to your accident, but it makes it easier to prove.
If you know or believe that your accident was caused by a distracted driver, in Georgia, Robbins Law, PC, is here to help you hold them accountable so that you can get the compensation you need and deserve. Please, call us at 800-772-5555 or email us today and schedule your free consultation.