Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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According to the National Safety Council More than 40,000 people were killed on our nation's roadways last year, and distracted driving is a major contributor.

What is Distracted Driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration define distracted driving as any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

Georgia’s Texting Law

2010 Georgia Code
§ 40-6-241.1 - Definitions; prohibition on certain persons operating motor vehicle while engaging in wireless communications; exceptions; penalties

O.C.G.A. 40-6-241.1 (2010)
40-6-241.1. Definitions; prohibition on certain persons operating motor vehicle while engaging in wireless communications; exceptions; penalties

(a) As used in the Code section, the term:

(1) "Engage in a wireless communication" means talking, writing, sending, or reading a text-based communication, or listening on a wireless telecommunications device.

(2) "Wireless telecommunications device" means a cellular telephone, a text-messaging device, a personal digital assistant, a stand alone computer, or any other substantially similar wireless device that is used to initiate or receive a wireless communication with another person. It does not include citizens band radios, citizens band radio hybrids, commercial two-way radio communication devices, subscription-based emergency communications, in-vehicle security, navigation, and remote diagnostics systems or amateur or ham radio devices.

(b) Except in a driver emergency and as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, no person who has an instruction permit or a Class D license and is under 18 years of age shall operate a motor vehicle on any public road or highway of this state while engaging in a wireless communication using a wireless telecommunications device.

(c) The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to a person who has an instruction permit or a Class D license and is under 18 years of age who engages in a wireless communication using a wireless telecommunications device to do any of the following:

(1) Report a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious road hazard;

(2) Report a situation in which the person believes his or her personal safety is in jeopardy;

(3) Report or avert the perpetration or potential perpetration of a criminal act against the driver or another person; or

(4) Engage in a wireless communication while the motor vehicle is lawfully parked.

(d) (1) Any conviction for a violation of the provisions of this Code section shall be punishable by a fine of $150.00. The provisions of Chapter 11 of Title 17 and any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the costs of such prosecution shall not be taxed nor shall any additional penalty, fee, or surcharge to a fine for such offense be assessed against a person for conviction thereof. The court imposing such fine shall forward a record of the disposition of the case of unlawfully operating a motor vehicle while using a wireless telecommunications device to the Department of Driver Services.

(2) If the operator of the moving motor vehicle is involved in an accident at the time of a violation of this Code section, then the fine shall be equal to double the amount of the fine imposed in paragraph (1) of this subsection. The law enforcement officer investigating the accident shall indicate on the written accident form whether such operator was engaging in a wireless communication at the time of the accident.

(e) Each violation of this Code section shall constitute a separate offense.

It’s simple, #JUST DRIVE!

DMV’s Tips on Avoiding the Distractions While Driving

Clearly there are several distractions that can take your attention away from driving. The good news is there are ways to avoid them.

Keep these tips in mind to help you drive distraction free:

  • Stay calm.
    • Anxiety and stress can be a big distraction. Take deep breaths and keep your focus on the road.
  • Pull over.
    • If, for whatever reason, you can't seem to keep your focus, find a safe place to pull over and take a break.
    • Avoid pulling over on the side of a busy street, or in dark and isolated places.
  • Keep the peace.
    • Driving is not the time for arguments, which can be VERY distracting. Save the fight for when you are in a safer setting.
  • Use your passengers.
    • When possible, put your passenger in charge of tasks like temperature control or changing the music.
  • Know your dials.
    • This is especially important when you are driving a new car, or a car you are not used to driving.
    • Get to know the car's controls BEFORE you start driving. This will help minimize distractions in cases where you must use one of the car's controls.
  • Use your radio presets.
    • Most car stereos allow you to preset stations so that you only have to press one button to hear what you want.
  • Make adjustments before you start driving. These include:
    • Mirrors.
    • Seat.
    • Steering wheel.
  • Stay off your phone.
  • Be rested and satisfied.
    • If you are going for a long trip, make sure you have had plenty of rest, food, and drink.
    • Remember to factor meal times into your schedule so that you don't feel pressured into eating while driving to make it to your destination on time.
  • Set up your GPS before you start driving