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Georgia’s Texting Laws

By Evan L. Kaine

Are you aware of the Georgia texting law? Did you know Georgia even had such law?

Well, Georgia has a no-nonsense type of law relating to texting and driving. Have a look and we will expand on whether such law is making much head way in the world of safe driving.

All drivers are prohibited from texting while driving. The law prohibits drivers from using a cell phone, text messaging device, personal digital assistant (PDA), computer, or similar wireless device to write, send, or read text data while driving. The ban applies to text messages, instant messages (IM), email, and Internet data. The law creates exceptions for emergency personnel, drivers responding to emergencies, and drivers who are fully parked.

The fine for violating this law is $150.00.

O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.2

Accidents Caused by Texting and Driving

The law and many other texting laws across the country got us thinking: do texting laws make much difference? This very question was studied by the University of Alabama – Birmingham as they set out to determine if certain legislation actually makes a difference in preventing traffic deaths and car accidents. A study published in 2014 found that primary texting bans that apply to all age groups resulted in a 3% reduction in traffic fatalities. The primary texting bans were aimed at young drivers – which resulted in an 11% reduction in distracted driving deaths.

What about the rest of the driving population?

According to the study, drivers 21 and older were most affected by a ban on all hand-held devices. They found that younger drivers are texting and driving, while older drivers are using their phones for different reasons: email, conference calls, maps, etc.

Do Texting While Driving Laws Help?

How is a law effective?

According to the University of Alabama – Birmingham, the texting laws across the country cannot be effective if these 4 items are not in place:

  1. Be a primary offense. A primary offense is a law under which a police officer can stop a driver. Some states make cellphone bans a secondary offense, meaning motorists can only be ticketed for using a cellphone if they’re being stopped for speeding or some other primary offense.
  2. Target all use of any hand-held device. When a ban allows certain usages, it’s easier for drivers to talk their way out of tickets. For example, some states allow drivers to dial and hold the phone while talking on it. This opens the door for a driver to use this as an excuse.
  3. Apply to all drivers. Across-the-board bans make it easier for police to identify abusers and pull them over. If an officer has to guess the age of a driver he sees texting before pulling him or her over, that driver has a better chance of getting away with it. This makes even targeted laws less effective.
  4. Come with costly penalties. When states don’t attach steep fines to an offense, people will decide that it’s worth taking the risk of sending a quick text. A fine of at least $200 sends a message that the state is serious about the law.

To truly serve as a deterrent, laws must be enacted by our state’s legislature and then enforced by law enforcement. Therefore, the next time you find yourself pulled over and you are wondering why, you may want to look down at your hand to see if you just sent a text. Obey the law and don’t text and drive.

Posted in Auto Accidents |
Published January 17, 2018
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