The Georgia Rule of the Road Statutes provides:
40-8-70. Horns and warning devices
(a) Every motor vehicle when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet, but no horn or other warning device shall emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle. The driver of a motor vehicle shall, when it is reasonably necessary to ensure safe operation, give audible warning with his or her horn but shall not otherwise use such horn when upon a highway.
(b) No vehicle shall be equipped with nor shall any person use upon a vehicle any siren, whistle, or bell except as otherwise permitted in this Code section and Code Section 40-8-94.
(c) No vehicle shall be equipped with a theft alarm signal device which is so arranged that it can be used by the driver as an ordinary warning signal.
What this law requires is that every vehicle on the road have a horn and that the horn be used to drive safely. In other words, you should use your horn to alert others of a danger and nothing more. Laying on the horn is a sure fire no-no.
We all drive in the Atlanta traffic and far too often I see road rage where a drive is laying on the horn and following a car without reason. In Georgia, this is not only dangerous (because it is intimidating or diverting the attention of the driver who is being beeped at and followed) but it is illegal. The problem is, the police never enforce this.
Many drivers are annoyed when a driver beeps to let the driver know they are there. This is something that I have never understood. Of course you want to know that a car is in the next lane before you come over into the lane, yet when this happens, the driver who was trying to come over invariably is upset and starts beeping aggressively. The initial horn, though, was nothing more than a safe way of alerting a driver that they may not see them and averting an accident.
The end game here is to drive safely, be safe and not use the horn to irritate, intimidate or harass other drivers.
Robert J. Fleming is a partner in the law firm of Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia and Decatur, Georgia. He is a personal injury attorney who has been handling wrongful death, dental malpractice, professional negligence, car accidents and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been severely injured or died as a result of negligence for over 25 years. He practices in the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb counties in Georgia and nearby cities such as Alpharetta, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Stone Mountain. If you or a family member has been seriously injured and would like to discuss your case in complete confidence, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online. We are here to help.