Georgia’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about Georgia’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

Georgia’s distracted driving laws prohibit text messaging for all drivers and talking on a cellphone for only certain drivers. This article discusses the specifics of what the laws prohibit and the costs of a texting or cellphone ticket.

Texting and Cellphone Restrictions for Underage Drivers

Motorists who are under the age of 18 and are using an instruction permit or class D license are completely prohibited from “engaging in wireless communication” while driving. In other words, these underage motorists aren’t allowed to talk on the phone or write, send, or read text messages while operating a vehicle. The wireless communication ban applies to cellphones, tablets, messaging devices, laptops, and all substantially similar devices.

Exceptions. The underage cellphone and texting ban doesn’t apply to:

  • reporting traffic accidents, medical emergencies, or serious road hazards
  • reporting a situation where the motorist believes his or her safety is in jeopardy
  • reporting criminal or potential criminal activity against a person, or
  • device use while lawfully parked.

Fines and points for violations. An underage texting or cellphone ticket normally costs $150. However, for violations involving an accident, the fine is doubled to $300. A violation will also add one demerit point to the motorist’s driving record.

Texting and Cellphone Restrictions for Adult Drivers

For most adult drivers, Georgia’s distracted driving laws don’t restrict talking on a cellphone while operating a vehicle. Only drivers operating commercial vehicles are prohibited from talking on the phone while driving. And the prohibition doesn’t apply if the commercial driver is using hands-free technology.

Georgia law does, however, ban all motorists from text messaging while driving. The ban includes writing, reading, and sending texts, emails, instant messages, and Internet data on any cellphone, tablet, messaging device, laptop, or a substantially similar device.

Exceptions. The adult cellphone and texting restrictions don’t apply to:

  • reporting traffic accidents, medical emergencies, fires, or serious road hazards
  • reporting a situation where the motorist believes his or her safety is in jeopardy
  • reporting criminal or potential criminal activity against a person
  • public utility workers or contractors working within the scope of their duties while responding to an emergency
  • law enforcement, firefighters, or other first responders performing official duties, or
  • a person using a device while lawfully parked.

Penalties. Adult texting and cellphone violations are misdemeanors. A texting or cellphone ticket costs $150 and will add one point to the person’s driving record.

Other Possible Charges

Depending on the circumstances, a texting or cellphone violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these violations results in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.

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