Car accidents can be caused by a number of factors. An increasingly common cause of crashes is the use of mobile phones during driving. This use may be in the form of making or receiving a call, texting, using apps like Maps, or using the mobile for virtually any other purpose. If you have been injured in a crash caused by a driver distracted due to mobile use, you should consult an Atlanta car accident lawyer.
Due to the risks posed by mobile phone use during driving, Georgia has detailed laws that govern the use of mobile phones during driving.
Georgia’s Hands-Free Law
The Georgia General Assembly passed a bill in 2018 which has come to be known as the Hands-Free Law. This piece of litigation provides detailed directions on when a driver can use mobile phones when driving on Georgia roads. According to this law:
- You are not allowed to hold your phone in your hand or support it with your body in any other way while driving.
- You may make or receive calls only when using a headphone or earpiece. The headphone or earpiece may not be used to listen to music or for any other entertainment.
- You are not allowed to read, write, or send text messages when operating a vehicle.
- You are not allowed to record or view videos on a mobile unless you are viewing a video for navigation.
- You are also not allowed to use the mobile for browsing the internet or posting on social media.
That being said, Georgia’s Hands-Free Law stipulates a number of exceptions where you can use mobile phones while driving in the event of an emergency or under certain circumstances.
Penalties for Violations of Hands-Free Law
If you take a call while holding the mobile phone to your ear or violate the Hands-Free Law in any other way, you face specific penalties. The penalties for a first conviction include a fine of up to $50 and a single point on your license. Penalties for a second conviction include a fine of up to $100 and two points on your license. If you are found guilty of violating the Hands-Free Law a third or subsequent time, you have to pay a fine of $150 and receive three points on your license.
Accidents Caused by Mobile Phones
Every year, a large number of accidents take place on Georgia roads due to distracted driving. In 2015 alone, a total of 3,832 crashes occurred due to distracted driving as per Georgia Department of Public Safety statistics. In 2016, this number rose to 3,998. Use of mobile phones is one of the leading causes of distracted driving.
In crashes caused by cell phone use, the distracted driver not only faces a fine for violating the Hands-Free Law but may also be held liable in a car accident claim or lawsuit. The legal fault in a car crash is based on the negligence of a driver.
If a driver was using a mobile phone to take a call while holding it or typing or sending a text message, you can use this as proof of negligence in a claim for damages. Data from the defendant’s mobile phone can also be used to ascertain what activities were being performed on the device at the time of the crash. This data can then be used as evidence in your claim.
For drivers who cause a crash while taking a business-related call or otherwise using a mobile phone for business purposes, it is possible to hold the employer vicariously liable for the incident. This is possible only when the employee who caused the crash was driving in the course and within the scope of their employment. If both conditions are met, you can file the claim against the employer to get a larger amount of settlement.
Hiring an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries and other losses in an Atlanta crash caused by a distracted driver, it is important to get legal help at the earliest. Here at Ted Greve & Associates, our lawyers can use the Hands-Free Law and other areas of personal injury law to prove the fault of the other driver in causing the crash. Once the issue of fault is settled, we then aim at getting you the maximum amount of compensation for your losses. Call us now to discuss your car crash claim with our lawyers.