Does Georgia Allow Cell Phone Use While Driving?
It’s no secret that using a cell phone while driving has quickly emerged as one of the biggest distractions behind the wheel. Because talking on the phone or reading a text message can pull your attention away from the road in front of you even for just a few seconds, the number of distracted driving accidents has skyrocketed across the country over the decade-plus since the devices became commonplace.
As a result, many states have created laws for their roads that restrict cell phone usage while behind the wheel. But it’s somewhat surprising how many Georgia residents don’t know what our own state’s laws are. So on this blog, our Atlanta car accident attorneys offer just a brief overview of our texting and driving laws to help you both avoid a costly ticket and prevent a potentially serious accident.
Believe it or not, Georgia is one of the least-restrictive states in the country when it comes to cell phone use. While dozens of states have completely banned the use of these devices without a hands-free solution, Georgia actually continues to allow drivers to use their phones in full capacity except for in a few instances.
- Minor drivers: those under the age of 18 are forbidden from using their cell phones in any capacity while driving. This includes texting, talking (with or without a hands free solution), and all internet access. This is a primary law, which essentially means that law enforcement may pull you over and ticket you for this directly, without needing another reason to pull you over first.
- School bus drivers: School bus drivers are forbidden from using cell phones in any capacity while behind the wheel. However, in their own personal vehicles they are allowed to use cell phones again. This is a primary law, so law enforcement may pull you over and write you a ticket for this violation directly, without the need for another issue.
- Text messaging: Text messaging is banned in all capacities for all drivers, both personal and commercial. This is also a primary law.
Taking a Road Trip?
If you’re taking a road trip to any of our neighbors, it’s important that you know the cell phone laws for their roads as well. Nothing throws a wet blanket on a vacation quite like a cell phone ticket in another state that you wouldn’t have otherwise been given here in Georgia. Here is a brief summary for our neighboring states.
- Florida: Florida’s laws are even less restrictive than Georgia. Texting while driving is the only prohibited practice (even for minor drivers), and even then it is a secondary offense, which means law enforcement must have a primary reason for pulling you over in order to ticket you.
- Alabama: Alabama also has no ban on cell phone use, even for school bus drivers. However, texting and driving is banned entirely for all motorists (primary law) and novice drivers who have had their license for less than six months are also prohibited from using their cell phone while driving.
- South Carolina: South Carolina’s laws are similar to Florida, except that their texting and driving law is a primary offense, so law enforcement may ticket you expressly if they spot you doing so.
- North Carolina: North Carolina’s laws are similar to Georgia’s. There is no handheld ban, except for drivers under the age of 18 and school bus drivers. Text messaging is also banned. Each of these offenses are a primary law.
- Tennessee: Tennessee also has not banned handheld devices, but prohibits school bus drivers from using them as well as novice drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license. Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers.
If you have been injured while behind the wheel, Schneider Hammers is dedicated to helping you and your loved ones get the compensation you deserve. We have successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients, and can work with you to learn the extent of how your injuries have impacted your life. This allows us to fight to help you obtain he best possible outcome to your case. Our accomplishments have been recognized with several industry honors, including being receiving an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, being named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers, and more!Call Schneider Hammers today at (770) 884-4626 to obtain free consultation and discuss your legal options with our attorneys!