It’s likely that your insurance rate will increase if you are pulled over and receive a citation for distracted driving. Whether your insurance rate increases depends on the state you live in, and in Georgia, it’s common for drivers to see their vehicle insurance rates jump after getting that ticket.
However, there are other ways a distracted driving citation can impact your car insurance, your driving record, and your ability to legally operate a vehicle.
How Much Will My Insurance Rate Go Up After a Distracted Driving Ticket?
How much your insurance rate will increase depends on a few different factors, such as:
- The state you live in
- Your age and how long you’ve been driving
- Your driving record
- The type of distracted driving you’ve been cited for
- The initial cost of your vehicle insurance
In Georgia, someone with a perfect driving record, no points at all on their license could see an annual increase of a few hundred dollars in their insurance rate after getting a ticket for texting while driving. However, those with more points on their license and a less-than-ideal driving record could see a higher increase because they are considered riskier drivers.
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What Constitutes Distracted Driving in Georgia?
According to Georgia Code § 40-6-241, distracted driving is defined as “any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle.” This law outlines many activities that constitute distracted driving, including:
- Talking on or using a cell phone in your hand or anywhere on your person
- Reading or sending texts
- Reading or posting to social media
- Watching videos on a device
- Recording or broadcasting inside or from within the vehicle
- Using any phone, device, or hands-free communication tool (applicable to drivers under 18 and school bus drivers)
While the law is primarily focused on cell phone usage, you could receive a citation for any activity considered distracted driving. Here are some other activities that could take your eyes or attention from the road for one second too long, resulting in an accident or citation.
- Putting on makeup or fixing one’s hair
- Eating or drinking
- Talking with passengers
It’s likely that you partake in some of these activities regularly or occasionally. However, it’s best to avoid them while driving to keep yourself, your passengers, and others on the road as safe as possible.
Georgia’s Hands-Free Law
Georgia uses primary enforcement, meaning you can be pulled over when an officer sees you engaging in any activity that violates Georgia’s Hands-Free Law or other distracted driving regulations.
This regulation applies even if you haven’t been in an accident or broken any other laws. These laws regarding texting while driving, hand-held phone operation, and other forms of distracted driving help protect every vehicle operator and pedestrian on the road.
Special Circumstances Related to Distracted Driving in Georgia
The law also provides some special situations and usage guidelines for devices that might otherwise be distracting. Here are some of those special circumstances:
- Drivers are allowed to use GPS devices, which may require you to occasionally press buttons or look away from the road at a screen.
- Drivers are allowed to have dash cams running, which is a footnote to the “no recording or broadcasting from the vehicle” rule.
- Drivers are allowed to use voice-to-text communication services and other hands-free calling options as a safer alternative to talking or texting.
- Commercial drivers can use devices while operating the vehicle as outlined in their job requirements.
- Emergency service personnel (police officers, EMTs, etc.) can also use devices while operating the vehicle per their duties.
Do You Get Points on Your Record for Distracted Driving?
Yes, Georgia drivers of all ages can get up to one (1) point on their license and a $50 fine for the first distracted driving offense. Subsequent offenses may result in three (3) points and fines over $100. According to the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS), accruing 15 many points on your license over a two-year period could result in having your license suspended, among other punishments.
It’s also important to understand that the number of points you have on your record helps insurance companies determine how much of a liability you are, which can determine how much your insurance policy costs. The more points you have, the more “risky” you are as a driver by insurance company standards and the higher your insurance rates are likely to be.
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Get Help with Your Distracted Driving Accident Case
If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident in Georgia, the team at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can help you negotiate with insurance companies to get the compensation you deserve. If insurance denies your claim, we will work hard to build a case that proves the other driver acted negligently by driving while distracted.
Contact us today to get a free case evaluation.