While you may never have heard of William Eno, his early-twentieth century innovations affect you every time you get in a car. Eno is known as the “father of traffic safety,” and many of his ideas served as the foundation for today’s traffic codes, including slower traffic keeping right, passing only on the left, stop signs, crosswalks, one-way streets, traffic circles, and pedestrian islands. Today’s laws build on these basics, and the sheer number of them makes it more likely that a motorist will get a traffic ticket or be pulled over at least once in their driving experience.
Here are a few Georgia traffic laws:
- You must yield the left lane.The “Slowpoke Law” went into effect last year and applies to all roads with at least two lanes in each direction. It is now unlawful for someone driving in the passing lane to stay in that lane once “such person knows or should reasonably know that he or she is being overtaken … from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed.” That means you can be pulled over, even if you are doing the speed limit, if you are doing it in the left lane and fail to yield to someone behind you who is traveling faster.
- You must move over for police cars, emergency vehicles, wreckers and garbage trucks.Variations of the “Move-Over Law” exist in more than 30 states to address the problem of police, first responders and transportation workers’ being killed during routine traffic stops, crash responses and construction projects. The law creates a buffer lane between passing traffic and authorized roadside emergency vehicles displaying flashing yellow, amber, white, red or blue lights. In Georgia, any driver who cannot move over due to heavy traffic must slow down to 10 miles per hour below the speed limit and be prepared to stop. Starting July 1, 2015, the law was extended to include sanitation trucks.
- The center lane is only for making a left turn.
Drivers often use the center lane to merge into traffic, which is illegal. Georgia law states that the center lane is only be used to make left turns and should not be entered more than 300 feet before the desired left turn.
- It is illegal to text in a vehicle.
State law does not specify if the vehicle must be moving, so drivers should also refrain from texting when stopped at a traffic light or stop sign. No text is worth an accident.
- No part of your tag can be obstructed from view.
While you’re free to express your love of the Bears or advertise the dealership that gave you a bargain, you aren’t allowed to cover any part of your tags. In Georgia, the entire tag must be clear and unobstructed, so before you make the purchase, check that any frame or cover will not illegally obstruct the view.
- If your windshield wipers are on, your headlights must be on.
Whether you are using your wipers in the rain, sleet, or snow, your full lights need to be on — and that means you cannot rely on your car’s daytime running lights. Automatic lights do not turn on tail lights in many vehicles. In order to ensure both your front and rear lights are illuminated, you must turn on your headlights manually.
- It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in a moving vehicle.
Any beverage that contains one-half of one percent or more of alcohol by volume cannot be open in the passenger compartment. Under this law, both the consumption and the possession of an open alcoholic beverage by the driver and any passengers are prohibited.
- No one under 18 can ride in the open bed of a pick-up truck on the interstate.
Although the beds of pick-ups are designed for cargo, not people, Georgia law has several exemptions. You can ride in the bed on the interstate if you are over 18, or if you are 17 and younger and the bed is covered. There are no restrictions off the interstate, though common sense suggests pick-up truck beds provide little to no protection in a crash.
At the Mann Law Firm, we have successfully represented victims throughout Georgia who have been seriously hurt in car accidents. We have also assisted families who have lost loved ones in vehicle accidents. For advice on how to proceed next, or if you have any questions about Georgia traffic laws, call us at (478) 742-3381 or submit our online form.