Texting While Driving: New Twist on Liability and Car Accidents Causes Concern for Motorists/Friends and Family
In this technology-driven age, texting while driving is undoubtedly the most rampant of the distracted driving culprits. It has become so much of an issue that many states, including Georgia, have in recent years implemented bans against the practice - hoping that discouraging the conduct will subsequently curtail the number of car accidents that result. Georgia codified its ban three years ago, in 2010. The law, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.1, applies to all drivers in the state. Furthermore, acknowledging that young drivers most often fall prey to the call of the cell, a full cell phone ban was promulgated that same year against motorists under the age of 18. Violators in both instances face a penalty of $150 upon conviction, plus a point against their driving history.
Since that time, more serious offenses (e.g. distracted driving coupled with substance abuse) have carried the potential for stiffer penalties when an injured party actually files a lawsuit. Recently, some Georgia courts have held that texting while driving may result in personal liability of a kind beyond the protection of insurance coverage.
The laws have certainly experienced a certain degree of success. In fact, Georgia's laws on distracted driving are so effectively worded that the state was one of only seven selected to receive a grant from the Department of Transportation to help combat the epidemic. Georgia topped the list of seven with a grant of $1.63 million. So, it seems, the laws are here to stay.