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No-Texting Law Rarely Enforced in Georgia

Unfortunately, Georgia’s ban on texting while driving for all motorists has not been effectively enforced since the law went into affect more than 2 years ago.According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, since the ban on texting while driving was imposed in Georgia, less than 50 people a month are convicted of texting while driving.In fact, the number of people who are convicted of texting while driving annually is miniscule, compared to the number of people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution analyzed state records as of September 17, 2010, and found that enforcement of texting while driving laws is pitiful in the state.(They also provided a breakdown of convictions for texting while driving in Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Clayton, and Cobb Counties.)There were 1,281 convictions for texting while driving-related offenses during this period of time, while 22,500 people were convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol during the same time.Georgia State troopers admit that they have only been able to issue about 11 citations per month since the law went into effect on July 1, 2010.

Many Atlanta car accident lawyers find that part of the problem with enforcing the law is that the law makes it difficult for police officers to pull people over for texting while driving.The onus of responsibility to prove that the motorist was texting while driving is placed on the law-enforcement officer.Officers must be able to prove that the motorist was indeed texting while driving, and not merely dialing a cell phone while driving, or accessing a map.

Georgia has not yet made the use of handheld cell phones illegal while driving.Motorists are allowed to use hand-held cell phones while driving, and may have conversations on the cell phone while they’re driving, but may not text while driving.Not surprisingly, many texting motorists are able to plead they were only dialing a number on their cell phone, and not texting while driving.

In addition, the penalties for texting while driving in the state of Georgia are not as harsh as the Super Speeder law.A texting while driving violation results in a fine of $150, and the possibility of a single point on the driver’s record.

That isn’t to say that every county in Georgia has a poor record in the enforcement of the law.For instance, in Gwinnett County, officers have done much better in punishing motorists who use texting devices while driving.In Gwinnett County, during the same period time, there were 665 convictions for texting while driving.In fact, that was a much higher number than all the other counties combined.DeKalb County, which also includes part of the metro Atlanta region, had some of the lowest conviction rates, with just 16 convictions.

No motorist requires extra evidence to confirm the dangers involved in texting while driving.It is worth noting, however, that one study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed that a motorist’s risk of being involved in an accident is 23 times higher if he’s texting while driving.

Don’t Text and Drive and Be Safe on Our Roads!