In Georgia, distracted driving is illegal. It’s also considered grounds for fault if it causes a car accident. In other words, a distracted driver can be held responsible for the full cost of an accident simply because they were distracted when it happened.
The legal definition of distracted driving, however, is different than what most people imagine. We typically picture “distracted” drivers holding a cell phone in hand and staring at the screen—texting while driving, for example. While this is one type of distracted driving, there are many others. Technically, any activity can count as distracted driving if it takes your attention away from the road.
Georgia recognizes three main kinds of distractions:
- Visual distractions, where you look away from the road at something else, or something else is in your line of sight.
- Manual distractions, where you are distracted by fiddling with something or using your hands. This can include eating while driving or even adjusting the radio.
- Cognitive distractions. This is when your attention is being distracted by something, even if you are still looking at the road and have both hands on the wheel. Talking hands-free on a headset can count as a cognitive distraction.
Which specific activities count as distracted driving in Georgia?
The most common activities we see listed as distractions include:
- Eating food or drinking any beverage while driving
- Adjusting the stereo or a music device
- Talking to other passengers in the vehicle
- Doing makeup, brushing hair, checking teeth, etc.
- Using a map app, a paper map or a GPS navigation system (even hands-free)
- Talking on a cell phone or headset
- Watching videos
How do Georgia’s distracted driving laws affect my car accident claim?
It affects your case both on your end and on the other driver’s end.
For your own wellbeing, you need to understand that any allegation of distracted driving will be taken seriously. You should not incriminate yourself by suggesting you weren’t looking at the road or were distracted by something. For example, we often see drivers who tell the police, “I was just reaching down for the radio,” thinking that is an innocent remark. But it can be considered evidence of distraction, even if you remained alert the whole time.
At the same time, pay attention to any signs that the other driver was distracted. Don’t assume they were driving attentively just because you didn’t see a cell phone. If they mention the radio, dealing with their kids, or even having the sun in their eyes, these statements could help you get the insurance money you need.
Have you been injured? John Foy & Associates offers a free consultation with some of the most experienced and respected personal injury lawyers in Georgia. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today