Distracted driving is becoming more of a problem every year in Georgia. People are obsessed with their phones and mobile devices. In a recent poll, over 80% of all drivers admitted to texting and driving at least once a week. If we did a poll of distracted driving, this number would go up even higher.
Some people think that one way to cut down on distracted driving is to wear headphones. You can listen to an audiobook. You can have a conversation on your phone without having to actually hold the phone. It cuts down on texting and driving. The question is: is it legal to wear headphones while driving in Georgia?
The good news is that it is technically legal to wear earbuds while driving in Georgia. However, it is against the law to wear actual headphones.
A new law was passed in Georgia last year called the “Hands-Free Phone Law.” This law makes it illegal for anyone to talk or text on a cell phone while driving.
The new law approves the use of earphones – to an extent. But it does not approve the use of headphones. If you’ve been cited for distracted driving for wearing headphones while driving, you may have a defense. You need to talk to an Atlanta auto accident attorney to know for sure.
Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyers are Familiar with the New Law
Georgia lawmakers had been talking about passing a stricter cell-phone law for quite some time. When they finally passed it last June, it was no surprise to Atlanta auto accident lawyers. Some counties decided to start writing tickets right away. Others gave a 30-day period where they’d issue warnings instead of tickets.
Today, the law is in full force. Anyone caught driving while using a cell-phone or any other handheld device are subject to a ticket. The ticket carries progressive penalties as follows:
- 1st offense is as $50 fine and 1 point on your license
- 2nd offense is $100 fine and 2 points
- 3rd and subsequent offenses are $150 fine and 3 points on your license
As you can imagine, these penalties add up. Every time you get a point on your license, you pay surcharges. Your insurance can go up as well.
The law is designed to cut down on all distractions caused by phone and devices.
Can Your Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyer Get Your Ticket Dismissed?
Remember we said earlier that earphones are technically permitted under the law? That’s because you can only use them for certain things. The law does allow you to talk on the phone using a Bluetooth device or headphones. But that’s it.
The new law doesn’t make headphones legal while driving. In fact, it’s been illegal to drive while wearing headphones for years. The new law does nothing to change that. Headphone simply create too much of a distraction to be considered safe.
If you’re wearing headphones, it’s impossible for you to hear what’s going on around you. You won’t be able to hear other drivers who honk their horns. You won’t hear sirens or emergency vehicles. They simply create too much of a distraction.
If you’re caught wearing headphones, you’ll be subject to the same penalties outlined above. It’ll be almost impossible for your Atlanta auto accident lawyer to get the prosecutor to dismiss a ticket if you’re caught wearing headphones while driving.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Rule?
The new law does provide slim exceptions for using your phones and handheld devices while driving. Your Atlanta auto accident attorney could possibly ask to have these exceptions extend to the use of headphones as well. However, the exceptions are very specific. There are limited situations in which they apply:
- Reporting a crash, medical emergency or fire
- Employees of a utility company who are on-duty
- First responders such as police officer and EMT
- In a lawfully parked vehicle
As you can imagine, there are very few situations in which these exceptions apply. Unless you work as a first responder, the odds of you qualifying for this exception are slim to none.
Call an Atlanta Auto Accident Attorney if You Have Any Questions
If you have questions about the law in Georgia, you should reach out to an experienced Atlanta injury attorney. These lawyers at The Weinstein Firm handle cases all the time where the other driver was guilty of distracted driving at the time of their accident.
The law is cracking down on distracted driving. If you’re ever unsure about whether something is legal or not, err on the side of caution. It will save you money and headaches down the road.