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Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers > Blog > Car Accidents > What Is Distracted Driving: You Might Be Surprised!

What Is Distracted Driving: You Might Be Surprised!


In the age of mobile technology, we are all trying our best to stay connected at all hours of the day. When traffic causes the commute to work to last an hour (or more!), what else is there to do but use the time to put on your makeup, eat your breakfast, check your phone, or even live-stream the news on your smartphone, right? Wrong.

Every day we can look at the car next to us and see people taking Snapchats or posting Instagram story videos. A quick glaze through Facebook shows multiple videos clearly taken while driving. We all do it, taking the attitude that we won’t be the one to cause a wreck and that we won’t be hurt by someone else driving distracted. But, police across the state of Georgia are cracking down on distracted driving, hopefully stopping this dangerous activity before it becomes deadly.

As drivers though, it can be tough to know what we can and can’t do when we’re behind the wheel. Georgia has several laws that set out parameters for us to follow to keep ourselves and others safe (and make sure we don’t get tickets!).

Cell Phones

It can be confusing to navigate the restrictions on cell phone use while driving in Georgia. First, there are different restrictions for children and adult drivers.[1] Children under the age of 18 are not allowed to talk, text, or even listen on wireless devices, which include cell phones, computers, tablets, etc.[2] Adults can do slightly more. Talking and listening are fine, but it is against the law to “write, send, or read any text based communication.”[3] What in the world does that mean? In short, you cannot read, write or send a text, e-mail, or do anything on the internet.[4] That means voice texting is not allowed either – you would be writing and sending a text-based communication. And the excuse “I’m not texting, I’m just looking at the internet,” is no good under Georgia law.

But it’s fine if I’m stopped at a red light, right? Or a stop sign? Think again! It is easy to think that because you are stopped, it is just fine to text. But the law says differently. Only when your vehicle is “lawfully parked” is it acceptable to text, e-mail, use the internet, and carry out all of the electronic communication that has come to define our daily lives. So, yes, you are breaking the law when you text at that red light, and yes, you could get pulled over.

And what about all the new ways to use our phones? Live streaming, Snapchat, Facebook Live, Instagram stories, and the like are all prohibited under Georgia law while you are driving.[5] So the bottom line with using a cell phone (or other electronic device) while you drive is to simply put the device away.

Other Distractions

Unfortunately, cell phones and technology are not the only distractions facing drivers today. When the police in Columbus, Georgia, set up shop to pull over distracted drivers, they found all sorts of dangerous driving behaviors from reading a letter balanced on the steering wheel to applying makeup while driving. A driver has even been pulled over for eating a cheeseburger while driving. What it boils down to is if you are doing something that takes away from your ability to drive, you can be ticketed.

In Georgia, drivers must “exercise due care” and cannot engage in any activities that would distract them from safely operating their vehicles.[6] So putting on makeup while you drive is not only dangerous, it is potentially illegal. And yes, if you are eating your lunch while driving and it affects your driving ability, that could be illegal too.

Preventing Distractions

Today, when we are all expected to be more connected than ever, it can be hard to just put the phone down. But it is worth it. In 2015 alone, 391,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. There are numerous options to take away the temptation: do not disturb mode, driving mode, or even specific distracted driving apps.

If you think you have been hurt by a distracted driver, Shiver Hamilton Campbell can help. We handle numerous motor vehicle and trucking collisions, and each one is different. If you think that your wreck could have been prevented by eliminating distractions for the driver, give us a call.

[1] O.C.G.A. §§ 40-6-241.1 (children), 40-6-241.2 (adults).

[2] O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.1.

[3] O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.2(b).

[4] O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.2(b).

[5] O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.2(b).

[6] O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.

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