In 2011, Georgia enacted a ban on texting while driving which, like many other states, was aimed at reducing the instances of distracted driving. Last year, however, Georgia decided that the ban on texting while driving was not enough and passed a measure that banned individuals from using a cell phone while driving, unless the driver was using the phone’s hands-free function.
The law includes other exceptions, including using a phone’s GPS functions and making emergency calls. However, the law is explicit in terms of its ban on phone usage: drivers can no longer have a phone touching any part of their body while talking into it, and any use of the phone other than the outlined exceptions is banned as well.
States were bound to head in this direction eventually, the texting-and-driving bans that represented the vanguard of these laws were simply unenforceable. Law enforcement could not clearly determine when a person was in violation of the law because other uses of a phone were allowed, and therefore many found the law nearly impossible to enforce.
More significantly, this change in the law is a change to Georgia’s Uniform Rules of the Road, meaning that if an individual is charged with violating the hands-free statute in connection with an accident, and that individual is then sued by the other driver for negligence, the issuance of the ticket may create a “negligence per se” situation. Negligence per se occurs when an individual’s action or actions violated a safety statute, that the violation caused an injury, and that the injured party was one which the safety statute was designed to protect.
If an individual is involved in an accident and is then cited for violation of Georgia’s Hands Free law, they may not only have the prospect of increased points on their license, but they may also have exposed themselves to a negligence claim by the other driver, in which their violation of the law ended up doing much of the work for the plaintiff in proving negligence.
If you have been involved in an accident where the other driver was cited for violating Georgia’s Hands Free law and you suffered an injury, you should consult with a Georgia Car Accident Attorney to determine whether you are entitled to compensation.
Michael J. Warshauer is a personal injury attorney from the Warshauer Law Group. Located in Atlanta, Georgia; Warshauer Law Group handles cases involving car accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, and others. For more information about Michael J. Warshauer and the Warshauer Law Group, visit Youtube and Twitter.