If you have been driving in Georgia over the past several years, you have likely heard people talk about distracted driving. Certainly this action seems to center around the use of cell phones when behind the wheel and specifically sending or receiving text messages while driving. Many groups have conducted research that shows this type of behavior puts innocent lives at risk. This is why the state of Georgia has clear distracted driving laws. But, are those laws tough enough?
According to the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, it is expressly illegal for any driver to text and drive at the same time. It is also illegal for any driver who is 16 or 17 years old to use a cell phone in any capacity while driving. A person who is found guilty of violating either of these laws may have one point added to their driving record. Compared to the penalties for drinking and driving, this does not seem very compelling.
A drunk driving offense is considered a criminal offense and may result in multiple penalties including the loss of driving privileges, the requirement to use an ignition interlock device and even potential jail time depending on the circumstances. The financial cost of a drunk driving conviction can reach thousands of dollars for defendants.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give Georgia residents an overview of the state's laws for distracted driving and how those compare to laws for other dangers like drunk driving.