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Fines may double for some traffic offenses

Georgia lawmakers are contemplating some changes regarding laws intended to keep motorists safe. In recent years, distracted driving has been a major issue on roadways nationwide. As far as traffic offenses go, distracted driving may not sound particularly egregious, but experts warn that the consequences can be deadly. 

The Peach State is considering legislation that would double the fine for a driver found guilty of distracted driving. Currently, drivers found guilty of this offense can expect to pay a $50 fine. If the distracted driving contributed to an accident or other serious situation, the penalty can be more. Police say that in the past few years, thousands of tickets have been issued for this offense, but some people continue to take the risk. 

Distracted driving can encompass a variety of circumstances in which a driver allows his or her attention to be focused on something other than the road, perhaps an unrestrained pet or retrieving some sunglasses dropped on the floor. The most common reason for such a citation, however, is the use of a smartphone or similar device while driving. Police say that even with the current enforcement efforts and fines, some drivers have been caught texting and even watching videos on their phones while behind the wheel. While on the surface, increasing the penalty for this offense may seem like an obvious effort to save lives, some are opposed to the proposed action, saying that drivers can be distracted by radios, food or drink, and other things in a vehicle, and cellphone users are being unfairly targeted. 

For now, current Georgia law remains unchanged. If a driver is given a ticket for traffic offenses, it may seem easier to just sign on the line and pay the fine. This is inadvisable if a driver does not feel he or she actually broke a law. A driver should not admit guilt to a crime he or she did not commit just to avoid a court appearance, and a driver wishing to dispute a ticket has the option to contact an experienced local attorney to assist with the process.