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New Georgia Laws Affecting Motorists

Dozens of new laws took effect in Georgia this month, with several new regulations directly impacting Georgia drivers and road safety.  Here is a closer look at some of the 2016 legislation:

HB166: The “Motorcycle Mobility Safety Act” specifies that a motorcycle carrying a passenger (not in a sidecar or enclosed cab) needs to be equipped with footrests for the passenger.  Additionally, the handlebars cannot be more than 25 inches above the operator’s seat, and the backrest (also known as “sissy bar”) cannot be shaped into a sharp point or apex.

HB205: Provides for a process through which drivers can be eligible for a limited driver’s permit, even if they refuse the blood alcohol concentration (B.A.C.) testing, or have a test result of .08 or more.  For drivers granted an Ignition Interlock Device Limited Driving Permit (IIDLDP), the device must be installed within 10 days of receipt.  Drivers must drive on the device for four to 12 months, depending on the source of the suspension.  Limited permits last for one year (renewable for additional 2 months) and can only be used for: traveling to work; receiving medical care; attending relevant support groups; attending court-ordered driver education or DUI program; attending court or performing community service; taking an unlicensed family member to work, school or to receive medical care; attending monthly monitoring visits.

Drivers convicted of a second DUI within five years of their first conviction are eligible for an IIDLDP after a 120-day suspension.  The state shall not issue the IIDLDP to 1) drivers who are 21-years and younger, 2) drivers not licensed in Georgia, 3) commercial drivers license (CDL) holders, 4) drivers whose license is currently suspended due to their involvement in a traffic accident with injuries/death, or 5) drivers whose license is suspended for any other reason (ex: child support, points, etc.).  The Department of Drivers Services must report the number of IIDLDPs issued to the Senate Public Safety Committee (until the year 2020).

HB579: Creates special provisions for agricultural vehicles.  A farmer (age 16 or older) may operate a farm use vehicle on any public Georgia road or highway so long as 1) the vehicle has the appropriate regulatory emblem attached to it, 2) a farmer is actively using the vehicle to transport livestock, farm equipment or supplies, or 3) a farmer is using the vehicle to travel between their home and the farm.

HB767: A driver approaching a stationary towing/recovery vehicle, highway maintenance vehicle, or utility service vehicle that is utilizing traffic cones or flashing lights shall approach with due caution and either 1) make a lane change or 2) reduce speed and be prepared to stop.  Violators can be fined up to $500.00.

HB777:  Allows school bus drivers to use their cell phones while operating their school bus, as long as the phone is being used in a manner similar to a two-way radio (to communicate with school or public safety officials).

HB806: Extends Georgia driver’s license expiration dates from every five years to every eight years.  The law requires that all drivers shall renew their licenses on or before the license expiration date; the renewal process includes an application, fee payment, and possible examination.  Drivers over the age of 65 or no longer subject to license renewal every five years.  Any criminal convictions will be noted on a person’s driving record, and any violation of federal, state, municipal, or county law may be grounds for revoking an individual’s driver’s license.

SB320: Relates to the regulation of “transportation for hire.”  Each taxi or limousine service operating in Georgia must register with the state and be licensed.  The service is required to maintain a current list of all employed drivers, as well as oversee its drivers, insurance, and the safety of its vehicles and services.  Drivers who are considered non-residents may operate under valid international licenses, which are subject to approval via law enforcement.

For the full legal language on all new Georgia laws, visit http://gov.georgia.gov/legislation/2016.  If you, or someone you know, has been injured in an accident related to D.U.I. or hit-and-run and needs help with a personal injury claim, give Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group – Gore LLC a call today at (404) 436-1529.

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