Sandy Springs, Ga. – An officer with the Sandy Springs Police Department was injured and her patrol car was totaled after an alleged distracted driver struck the vehicle.
According to reports, the patrol car was parked with emergency lights on the westbound shoulder of Interstate 285 westbound. A passing vehicle ended up striking her patrol car. The man was cited for distracted driving, violating the move-over law, and failing to maintain his lane.
This is exactly the type of situation that typically leads to a DUI investigation. As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I will outline the law behind the initial offense – distracted driving in the state of Georgia.
Distracted Driving in Georgia
Distracted Driving in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §40-6-241 as:
All drivers operating a motor vehicle on any highway of this state are prohibited from:
- Holding or supporting, with any part of the body, a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device.
- Writing, sending or reading any text-based communication, including a text message, instant message, e-mail or internet data.
- Watching, recording, or broadcasting a video or movie.
The penalties if a driver is convicted of distracted driving include the following punishments. For a first time conviction, the penalty is 1 point added to your driver's license and a $50.00 fine. For a second time conviction, the penalty is 2 points added to your driver's license and a $100.00 fine. For a third or another subsequent convictions, the penalty is 3 points added to your driver's license and a $150.00 fine.
There are exceptions to the law which allow a driver to handle his or her phone. First, a driver can use his or her phone for reporting a traffic crash, medical emergency, fire, criminal activity or hazardous road conditions. Next, a driver can use his or her phone if he or she is an employee or contractor of a utility service provider acting within the scope of their employment while responding to a utility emergency. Third, a driver can use his or her phone if he or she is a first responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS) during the performance of their official duties. And finally, a driver can use his or her phone if he or she is in a lawfully parked vehicle—this does not include vehicles stopped for traffic signals and stop signs on the public roadway.
Many offenses like distracted driving lead police officers to investigate offending drivers for DUI in Georgia. If you have been arrested for a minor traffic violation along with DUI, call our offices now. We can help you today.