Crime & Safety Law Enforcement

TRAFFIC TUESDAY: Police Can Text and Drive Under State Law

State law provides for law enforcement officers to operate and text on their computers while driving down the street.

While the law is not new, it comes after a few photos of an officer in DeKalb County began circulating showing him driving down the road with his phone. It drew question by the public as to whether or not officers can operate technology, a practice not allowed for the general public, while driving.

The answer? Yes.

Georgia law exempts emergency personnel from the code section that prohibits texting while driving.

See Title 40, Chapter 6, Article 11 of the Georgia State Code which applies to “wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read any text-based communication, including, but not limited to a text message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data.”

The state law lists exceptions as follows:

(c) The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to:

(1) A person reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, serious road hazard, or a situation in which the person reasonably believes a person’s health or safety is in immediate jeopardy;

(2) A person reporting the perpetration or potential perpetration of a crime;

(3) A public utility employee or contractor acting within the scope of his or her employment when responding to a public utility emergency;

(4) A law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical services personnel, ambulance driver, or other similarly employed public safety first responder during the performance of his or her official duties; or

(5) A person engaging in wireless communication while in a motor vehicle which is lawfully parked.

A similar law is in place in Texas.

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of The Georgia Virtue. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta, a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast,' and she has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers." Sign up for her weekly newsletter:

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