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Texting While Driving in Georgia

§ 40-6-241.2. Wireless telecommunications device use prohibited

Leave it to our wise overlords to create another confusing statute, designed to protect us, that exempts most government workers who, I guess, are allowed to endanger us while doing their jobs.

The “texting while driving” statute couldn’t possibly be called “texting while driving”. It’s gotta be something that makes the average non-lawyer look right past it when trying to find out what the law actually is. Well, hopefully, this will help.

Yes, a wireless communication device means your cell phone. You may not drive, on any road, while using your cell phone to write, send, or read a text message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data.

So, that means, you may talk on the phone. It's a bit ambiguous, but it appears that "navigation devices" are excluded from the definition. Even if it isn't, the statute does not explicitly exclude the use of your cell phone for navigation purposes.

The statute includes a number of exceptions including:

(1) Reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, serious road hazard, or a situation in which the person reasonably believes a person's health or safety is in immediate jeopardy;

 Why anyone would use text, IM or the internet to report such a thing? I just don’t know.      

(2) Reporting the perpetration or potential perpetration of a crime;

Why anyone would use text, IM or the internet to report such a thing? I just don’t know.

(3) A public utility employee or contractor acting within the scope of his or her employment when responding to a public utility emergency;

Because it’s okay for them to endanger your life if someone’s power it out.

 (4) A law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical services personnel, ambulance driver, or other similarly employed public safety first responder during the performance of his or her official duties; or

 Because it’s okay for them to endanger your life when responding to a shoplifting call at WalMart.

 (5) A person engaging in wireless communication while in a motor vehicle which is lawfully parked.

This falls under the "Duh!" category.

 Amazingly, the fine for this is capped at $150 and the statute disallows court costs and taxes. Additionally, only 1 point will be assessed on your license for a guilty plea or if convicted.

For additional questions, please email me at [email protected] or call me at 770-729-4809.

 - Jason Carnell

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