Everything You Need to Know About Passing Other Vehicles
Time is of the essence, and sometimes we just do not have time to sit in the slow lane or be behind the person going 10 miles under the speed limit. However, it is important that you know when it is acceptable to pass and what are the consequences for passing someone unlawfully. The Law Office of Richard Lawson and his team of Georgia Passing Attorneys are very familiar with the laws and subtle distinctions and are here to help you. If you have been charged with illegal passing, contact us today and schedule a free consultation.
Passing in a No Passing Zone
No passing zones were established for the benefit of oncoming vehicles traveling in the opposite direction and for the sake of the person being passed. They strive to help drivers avoid accidents and causing others to run off the road. No passing zones should be clearly marked by a solid barrier line place on the right hand of a combination stripe along the center lane line or by a solid double yellow line.
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-46
Where signs or markings are in place to define a no-passing zone, no driver shall at any time drive on the left side of the roadway within a no-passing zone or on the left side of any pavement striping designed to mark such no-passing zone throughout its length.
Illegal Passing on the Left
Under O.C.G.A. §40-6-44 drivers should not pass a vehicle unless the left side is clearly visible and free of any oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance so that the overtaking can be made without interfering with any vehicle driving on the road or the one being overtaken. If the passing is on a two lane road, then the overtaking must occur before coming within 200 feet of any approaching vehicle, and you must return to the right lane as soon as practicable.
People receive tickets for passing on the left when they endanger other vehicles around them by cutting them off or forcing people to go off the road.
Illegal Passing on the Right
Overtaking someone on the left is much more common than overtaking on the right but there are still rules governing when to pass someone on the right.
O.C.G.A. §40-6-43 gives us two ways where a driver may pass another vehicle coming from the right:
- The first way is when the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn, and
- The second way is when on a street or highway with two or more lanes going in the same direction as the person passing.
It is never appropriate to pass someone by driving off the roadway.
Consequences for Being Convicted of Illegal Passing
A ticket for illegal passing carries a punishment of three points on your license as well as a fine. Accumulating points on your license can lead to a suspension of your license as well as higher insurance costs. If an accident resulted from the passing, you might also have a civil action brought against you by the victim and have to pay damages arising from any injuries.
In addition to fines and points on your license, an illegal passing violation in Georgia can have many implications. It can provide an officer reasonable suspicion as a basis for stopping your vehicle, it can cause a wreck, and it can even lead to a misdemeanor vehicular homicide charge if someone dies as a result of a traffic law violation.
Defenses to Illegal Passing in Georgia
One argument for passing in a no-passing zone is if you were unaware that it was a no passing zone due to the condition of the roads. If the County or another agency has not maintained the road well, sometimes it is difficult to tell if it is a solid line or not. The issue with this argument is that prosecutors argue that people should know the difference between an area where passing is allowed and where it is prohibited. If you tried to pass someone while going up a hill or in a blind spot, then it is likely even if the line was worn down, you would still be convicted of illegal passing.
A defense that applies to each of the different passing situations is in case of an emergency such as to avoid an accident. If there was an accident right in front of you and you swerved into the other lane when not authorized by the statute, your Attorney will work with you to demonstrate that it was in the best interest of the parties for you to enter into the other lane. If you avoided hitting someone or their vehicle, that evidence would be highly beneficial to fighting your ticket.
Is it Illegal to Speed While Passing Another Vehicle?
You can get a ticket for speeding while passing a vehicle. Georgia law does not have an exception for when passing. However, if you received a ticket for speeding while overtaking a vehicle, it would be in your best interests to contact one of our knowledgeable lawyers to help you with your ticket.
If you have been charged with an Illegal Passing Violation, you need suitable representation. We are here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year even nights, weekends, and holidays. We are here to help you so contact us today.