2020 Georgia Code
Title 40 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic
Chapter 6 - Uniform Rules of the Road
Article 3 - Driving on Right Side of Roadway, Overtaking and Passing, Following Too Closely
§ 40-6-48. Driving on Roadways Laned for Traffic
Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic, the following rules, in addition to all others consistent with this Code section, shall apply:
- A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety;
- Upon a roadway which is divided into three lanes, and provides for two-way movement of traffic, with two lanes in one direction, a vehicle being driven in a continuous or center lane shall have the right of way when overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction;
- Upon a roadway which is divided into three lanes and provides for two-way movement of traffic, a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction when such center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for making a left turn, or where such center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the same direction that the vehicle is proceeding and such allocation is designated by official traffic-control devices or road striping;
- Official traffic-control devices may be erected directing specified traffic, including but not limited to buses or trucks, to use a designated lane or designating those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway, and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device; and
- Official traffic-control devices may be installed prohibiting the changing of lanes on sections of roadway, and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device.
(Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, § 62; Ga. L. 1967, p. 542, §§ 2, 3; Code 1933, § 68A-309, enacted by Ga. L. 1974, p. 633, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 5.)Cross references.
- Designation of travel lanes for exclusive or preferential use of buses and other designated passenger vehicles, § 32-9-4.
Central lane for turning, § 40-6-126.Code Commission notes.
- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1989, "and" was added at the end of paragraph (4).
- Police officer's observation of the defendant weaving out of the defendant's lane justified the finding of the court that the stopping of the car was not pretextual, but justified. Davis v. State, 236 Ga. App. 32, 510 S.E.2d 889 (1999), overruled on other grounds by Willis v. State, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 685 (Ga. 2018).
Because the defendant was witnessed crossing the white traffic line on two occasions, the stop of the defendant's vehicle was valid under Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. I, Para. XIII; the defendant's weaving without reason into nearby lanes violated O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48(1) and justified the stop, and the officer's actual motive in stopping the defendant was inconsequential. Rayo-Leon v. State, 281 Ga. App. 74, 635 S.E.2d 368 (2006).
In an in rem forfeiture case in which: (1) the initial traffic stop of the van was reasonable and did not implicate the Fourth Amendment since a law enforcement officer had probable cause to believe that the claimant violated Georgia traffic law by twice violating O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48; (2) the seven minutes it took to effectuate the traffic stop was reasonable; and (3) the search of the van was lawful because of a drug dog's positive alert, the district court did not err in denying a claimant's motion to suppress. United States v. $ 175,722.77, in United States Currency, F.3d (11th Cir. 2007)(Unpublished).
Defendant's Fourth Amendment rights were not violated by a traffic stop because there was probable cause that the defendant violated O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48(1) by weaving between lanes, various factors went beyond an inchoate hunch and amounted to reasonable suspicion of other illegal activity, and prolonging detention for three minutes was not unreasonable. Also, any discovery violation under Fed. R. Crim. P. 12(b)(4) did not prejudice the defendant's substantial rights in that it was irrelevant to the outcome of the suppression hearing. United States v. Robinson, 272 Fed. Appx. 774 (11th Cir. 2008)(Unpublished).
Before an officer stopped the defendant's vehicle, the officers observed the defendant fail to maintain the defendant's lane in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48(1) and such a violation provided the officer with probable cause for the stop. United States v. Garcia, 284 Fed. Appx. 791 (11th Cir. 2008)(Unpublished).
Defendant's conviction for DUI per se in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(5) was upheld. The traffic stop of the defendant was proper because the officer observed the defendant driving erratically, including sudden braking and weaving within the lane, even though the defendant was acquitted of failure to operate the vehicle within a single lane, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48(1). Ivey v. State, 301 Ga. App. 796, 689 S.E.2d 100 (2009).
Trial court did not err in denying the defendant's motion to suppress because the officer was justified in stopping the defendant's vehicle based on the videotaped evidence that established that the officer observed the defendant's vehicle failing to maintain the vehicle's lane in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48(1). Acree v. State, 319 Ga. App. 854, 737 S.E.2d 103 (2013).
Officer's observation of the defendant's vehicle crossing the fog line three times provided sufficient justification for an initial traffic stop. Calcaterra v. State, 321 Ga. App. 874, 743 S.E.2d 534 (2013).Stop not justified.
- Defendant's motion to suppress was properly granted as the officer lacked reasonable articulable suspicion to justify the stop of the defendant's vehicle because it was not entirely clear that the defendant failed to maintain the defendant's lane as it was not clear that the defendant's car went over the road's far right white line; and, even if the defendant did drive over the white line, the defendant appeared to do so to avoid the officer's patrol car, which was drifting into the defendant's lane. State v. Shaw, 353 Ga. App. 102, 836 S.E.2d 208 (2019).Officer's qualified immunity following traffic stop.
- Officer was entitled to summary judgment based on qualified immunity as to an arrestee's Fourth Amendment claim regarding the stop of the arrestee's vehicle because the officer had arguable reasonable suspicion to stop the arrestee since the officer responded to an off-duty officer's report that the arrestee was driving at an unusual speed and weaving across the road, and the off-duty officer identified the vehicle. Jenkins v. Gaither, F.3d (11th Cir. Oct. 4, 2013)(Unpublished).Indictment.
- Indictment stating that defendant "did fail to operate his motor vehicle entirely within a single lane of traffic. . ." was not deficient because the indictment did not allege that the defendant failed to ascertain whether the defendant could move from the defendant's lane safely. Harridge v. State, 243 Ga. App. 658, 534 S.E.2d 113 (2000).
Defendant's conviction for failure to keep the defendant's vehicle within a single lane of traffic could not stand; although there was evidence to support the charge, the accusation filed against the defendant stated the wrong road for where the violation occurred, and therefore, there was insufficient evidence to convict the defendant of the charge stated in the accusation. Thrasher v. State, 292 Ga. App. 566, 666 S.E.2d 28 (2008).Inconsistent verdict could not form basis for attacking DUI conviction.
- Fact that the jury found the defendant not guilty of a charge of failing to maintain a lane could not be a basis for attacking the guilty verdict for driving under the influence of alcohol under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(1). Renkiewicz v. State, 283 Ga. App. 692, 642 S.E.2d 384 (2007).Failure to request jury charge.
- When the defendant did not request a charge on a violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48 as the predicate for finding the defendant guilty of the lesser included offense of vehicular homicide in the second degree, the charge that was given by the trial court was sufficient and there was no error. Collum v. State, 195 Ga. App. 42, 392 S.E.2d 301 (1990).Issue should have been submitted to jury.
- Trial court erred by granting summary judgment to the defendants in a wrongful death action upon concluding that the plaintiffs' decedent was 50 percent or more responsible for the decedent's own death because there was an issue of fact as to whether the decedent would have died but for the presence of the tractor-trailer illegally parked in the emergency lane. Reed v. Carolina Cas. Ins. Co., 327 Ga. App. 130, 755 S.E.2d 356 (2014).Suppression motion properly denied.
- Because a sheriff's deputy lawfully stopped the defendant for twice crossing the center line in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48(1), and given that: (1) the deputy sheriff's specialized DUI training; and (2) the defendant's admission of ingesting alcohol, failure to maintain lane, bloodshot eyes, performances on several field sobriety tests, and strong odor of alcohol, the evidence seized in connection with the stop was admissible; moreover, the defendant's claim that the state failed to establish a violation of § 40-6-48(1) and the defendant's eventual acquittal of failure to maintain a lane were not determinative of whether the traffic stop was lawful. Steinberg v. State, 286 Ga. App. 417, 650 S.E.2d 268 (2007), cert. denied, No. S07C1725, 2008 Ga. LEXIS 113 (Ga. 2008).
Defendant unsuccessfully argued that a law enforcement officer lacked probable cause to make a stop because the officer caused the defendant to drive in an erratic, unsafe manner. What the testimony at the evidentiary hearing fairly showed was that the defendant, over a matter of seconds, attempted to make three lane changes, twice pulling into lanes occupied by other vehicles, causing one to brake and sound the vehicle's horn to avoid collision; the officer had probable cause to stop the defendant for the defendant's violations of O.C.G.A. §§ 40-6-48 and40-6-123. United States v. Pineda, F. Supp. 2d (N.D. Ga. Mar. 10, 2008).
Evidence was sufficient to sustain a conviction since the arresting officer testified that the officer observed the defendant weave across the road. Moore v. State, 234 Ga. App. 332, 506 S.E.2d 685 (1998).
Testimony that the defendant weaved across the road and twice crossed over the center line was sufficient to support the defendant's conviction for improper lane usage. Arsenault v. State, 257 Ga. App. 456, 571 S.E.2d 456 (2002).
Because an officer witnessed the defendant driving completely from one side of the lane to the other numerous times, and in doing so the defendant's wheels at least partially crossed over the center of the white line separating the lanes. This evidence was sufficient to support the defendant's conviction for failure to maintain lane. Kuehne v. State, 274 Ga. App. 668, 618 S.E.2d 702 (2005).
Convictions of driving under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it was less safe to drive, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(1), reckless driving, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-390, and failure to maintain a lane, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48 were supported by sufficient evidence since, when an officer stopped to assist the defendant, whose car was parked on the side of a road, the defendant told the officer that the defendant had driven off the road, the officer found tire marks and a fender in the area where the defendant ran off the road and the defendant's vehicle was missing its left front fender, the officer noticed a strong odor of alcohol on the defendant's breath, the defendant admitted to drinking for over four hours and could not tell the officer how many drinks had been consumed, and the defendant then failed field sobriety tests. Taylor v. State, 278 Ga. App. 181, 628 S.E.2d 611 (2006).
Defendant's conviction for failure to maintain a lane, in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48(1), was supported by sufficient evidence because the police officers noticed that the defendant's vehicle had front end damage and that it was dragging on the ground, and defendant admitted that the vehicle had hit a road sign, which was off the road; the police officers investigated the area where the incident occurred and noted that a road sign was down on the ground, which was consistent with the statement given by defendant. Crenshaw v. State, 280 Ga. App. 568, 634 S.E.2d 520 (2006).
Given evidence from an ensuing police officer identifying the defendant as the driver of the vehicle stopped, and because the jury was the judge of the credibility of the witnesses presented at trial, and was authorized to reject the defendant's alibi defense, sufficient evidence was presented to support the defendant's convictions for reckless driving, failure to maintain a lane, driving with defective equipment, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, and obstruction of a police officer. Daniel v. State, 282 Ga. App. 291, 638 S.E.2d 430 (2006).
Fact that the defendant's vehicle exited the roadway before coming to rest upside down in an adjacent gore area provided sufficient evidence that the defendant failed to maintain the defendant's lane of traffic, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48(1). Schlanger v. State, 290 Ga. App. 407, 659 S.E.2d 823 (2008).
There existed sufficient evidence to support defendant's convictions for failing to maintain a lane based on the testimony of a police officer who observed the defendant cross one lane to another more than seven times without signaling, which at one point required the officer to swerve to avoid being struck by the defendant's vehicle. Bell v. State, 291 Ga. App. 437, 662 S.E.2d 248 (2008).
Evidence supported conviction of failure to maintain lane, although in denying a motion to suppress, the trial court had stated that it was not clear whether a criminal violation had occurred, only issue at that time was the legality of the stop, which did not depend on finding that actual criminal violation had occurred; later finding of guilt of failure to maintain lane was supported by undisputed evidence that the defendant drove into a pothole and that it was not located in the lane of travel. Camacho v. State, 292 Ga. App. 120, 663 S.E.2d 364 (2008), cert. denied, No. S08C1769, 2008 Ga. LEXIS 872 (Ga. 2008).
Testimony of deputies who observed a defendant driving erratically and a paramedic who examined the defendant at the stop scene to the effect that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the defendant was a less safe driver, along with blood alcohol evidence, was sufficient for the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the defendant was a less safe driver, and of failing to safely maintain the vehicle within a marked traffic lane in violation of O.C.G.A. §§ 40-6-48(1) and 40-6- 391(a)(1). Stubblefield v. State, 302 Ga. App. 499, 690 S.E.2d 892 (2010).
Evidence was insufficient to sustain the defendant's conviction for failure to maintain a lane in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48(1) because the state failed to present any witness testimony pertaining to the charge, and instead relied solely upon a videotape depicting the defendant's operation of the vehicle immediately prior to the traffic stop; the videotape failed to show where defendant's vehicle crossed into the adjacent lane of traffic. Waters v. State, 306 Ga. App. 114, 701 S.E.2d 550 (2010).
Evidence that the defendant failed to maintain the vehicle within a single lane when making a wide right turn and then again after completing the turn supported the defendant's conviction for failure to maintain lane. King v. State, 317 Ga. App. 834, 733 S.E.2d 21 (2012).
Undisputed evidence that the collision occurred outside the defendant's lane of travel was sufficient for the jury to find that the defendant failed to maintain the defendant's lane of travel and was, therefore, guilty of second degree vehicular homicide. Evans-Glodowski v. State, 335 Ga. App. 484, 781 S.E.2d 591 (2016).
Trial court did not err in denying the defendant's motion for new trial on the failure to maintain a lane conviction because the arresting trooper observed the defendant completely travel off the right side of the roadway across the fog line and into the concrete median area, failing to maintain the defendant's lane; and the defendant's failure to maintain a lane conviction was based on the trooper's observation rather than on the admission of the blood alcohol content evidence or any other evidence related to the driving under the influence charges. Stoica v. State, 339 Ga. App. 486, 793 S.E.2d 651 (2016).
Evidence was sufficient to convict the defendant of driving under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the defendant was a less safe driver, speeding, failure to maintain lane, and driving while possessing an open container of an alcoholic beverage because a sergeant pulled over the defendant's car for speeding and failing to maintain the defendant's lane; another officer observed six out of six clues of impairment in the officer's horizontal gaze nystagmus evaluation of the defendant and smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the defendant's mouth; and, after the defendant's arrest, the sergeant searched the defendant's car and found a glass filled with ice and a dark liquid that smelled like an alcoholic beverage. Monroe v. State, 340 Ga. App. 373, 797 S.E.2d 245 (2017).Evidence insufficient to sustain conviction.
- Given that the trial court failed to provide the defendant with an opportunity to be heard regarding the trial court's decision to take judicial notice that the highway the defendant drove upon was a two-lane marked road, and no evidence was presented to establish that the highway was divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic, there was insufficient evidence to convict the defendant of a failure to maintain a lane. Stewart v. State, 288 Ga. App. 735, 655 S.E.2d 328 (2007).
Given that no evidence was presented to establish that the street the defendant was driving on was divided into two or more clearly marked lanes, the evidence was insufficient to convict the defendant of failure to maintain the lane. Stroud v. State, 344 Ga. App. 827, 812 S.E.2d 309 (2018).Instructions.
- Reversal of defendant's conviction for improper lane change was required since the trial court first instructed the jury by reading the language of the accusation charging the defendant with an improper lane change in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48, then later read O.C.G.A. § 40-6-123(b) and told the jury that the defendant was charged with improper lane change in violation of that section. Threatt v. State, 240 Ga. App. 592, 524 S.E.2d 276 (1999).
When the defendant was charged with failing to maintain defendant's lane in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48 and failing to use a turn signal in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-123, the trial court properly instructed the jury as to the definition of the standard for strict liability offenses because the state was not required to prove mental fault or mens rea in those offenses; although O.C.G.A. § 40-6-10(b) required proof that the defendant knowingly operated the vehicle with no insurance, and O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270 required proof that the defendant knowingly failed to stop and comply with the statute's mandates, the trial court's charge on intent was found sufficient. Augustin v. State, 260 Ga. App. 631, 580 S.E.2d 640 (2003).
Because the accusation read to the jury charged an improper lane change, but the jury was twice instructed on the elements of failure to maintain a lane, these inconsistent instructions required reversal of the defendant's improper lane change conviction. Walker v. State, 280 Ga. App. 393, 634 S.E.2d 177 (2006).
In a prosecution for driving under the influence and making an improper lane change, because the defendant did not request instructions on accident and justification, the trial court did not err in failing to give those instructions; moreover, because the jury was charged on involuntary intoxication, the failure to charge on accident was not harmful as a matter of law. Walker v. State, 280 Ga. App. 393, 634 S.E.2d 177 (2006).
Because there was some evidence, even from the state's witnesses, that showed that the defendant committed an act of following too closely, a traffic violation other than the more culpable offense of DUI, that such evidence not only showed that the defendant committed the less-culpable offenses of following too closely and of failing to maintain the defendant's lane, that may have caused the collision and resulting death, the trial court erred in failing to give the defendant's written request for an instruction on second-degree vehicular homicide. Brown v. State, 287 Ga. App. 755, 652 S.E.2d 631 (2007).
Trial court did not err by refusing to give the defendant's requested charge on misfortune or accident because the defendant, who was charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, and failure to maintain lane, was not entitled to a charge that the accident was unavoidable; because the defendant did not admit to committing any act that constituted the offenses with which the defendant was charged, the defendant was not entitled to an instruction on accident. Davis v. State, 301 Ga. App. 484, 687 S.E.2d 854 (2009), cert. dismissed, No. S10C0633, 2010 Ga. LEXIS 339 (Ga. 2010).
Cited in Jenkins v. Lampkin, 145 Ga. App. 746, 244 S.E.2d 895 (1978); Mathews v. Taylor, 155 Ga. App. 2, 270 S.E.2d 247 (1980); Griffin v. State, 191 Ga. App. 302, 381 S.E.2d 562 (1989); Allenbrand v. State, 217 Ga. App. 609, 458 S.E.2d 382 (1995); State v. Holcomb, 219 Ga. App. 231, 464 S.E.2d 651 (1995); Hitchcock v. McPhail, 221 Ga. App. 299, 471 S.E.2d 256 (1996); Stepic v. State, 226 Ga. App. 734, 487 S.E.2d 643 (1997); Hamilton v. State, 228 Ga. App. 285, 491 S.E.2d 485 (1997); State v. Bowen, 231 Ga. App. 95, 498 S.E.2d 570 (1998); Forsman v. State, 239 Ga. App. 612, 521 S.E.2d 410 (1999); State v. Hanson, 243 Ga. App. 532, 532 S.E.2d 715 (2000); Moore v. Pitt-DesMoines, Inc., 245 Ga. App. 676, 538 S.E.2d 155 (2000); In the Interest of W.N.J., 268 Ga. App. 637, 602 S.E.2d 173 (2004); Smith v. State, 270 Ga. App. 759, 608 S.E.2d 35 (2004); Dunbar v. State, 283 Ga. App. 872, 643 S.E.2d 292 (2007); Davis v. State, 286 Ga. App. 443, 649 S.E.2d 568 (2007); Trull v. State, 286 Ga. App. 441, 649 S.E.2d 571 (2007); Lopez v. State, 286 Ga. App. 873, 650 S.E.2d 430 (2007); Merritt v. State, 288 Ga. App. 89, 653 S.E.2d 368 (2007); Brantley v. State, 290 Ga. App. 764, 660 S.E.2d 846 (2008); Thomas v. State, 294 Ga. App. 108, 668 S.E.2d 540 (2008); Eason v. Dozier, 298 Ga. App. 65, 679 S.E.2d 89 (2009); Johnson v. State, 300 Ga. App. 605, 685 S.E.2d 339 (2009); Jones v. State, 319 Ga. App. 678, 738 S.E.2d 130 (2013); State v. Zeth, 320 Ga. App. 140, 739 S.E.2d 443 (2013); Smith v. State, 324 Ga. App. 100, 749 S.E.2d 395 (2013); Plemmons v. State, 326 Ga. App. 765, 755 S.E.2d 205 (2014); Barlow v. State, 327 Ga. App. 719, 761 S.E.2d 120 (2014); State v. Outen, 296 Ga. 40, 764 S.E.2d 848 (2014); Chernowski v. State, 330 Ga. App. 702, 769 S.E.2d 126 (2015); Williams v. State, 296 Ga. 817, 771 S.E.2d 373 (2015); Sherod v. State, 334 Ga. App. 314, 779 S.E.2d 94 (2015), cert. denied, No. S16C0368, 2016 Ga. LEXIS 118 (Ga. 2016), cert. denied, 137 S. Ct. 51, 196 L. Ed. 2d 55 (U.S. 2016); Kim v. State, 337 Ga. App. 155, 786 S.E.2d 532 (2016); State v. Wallace, 338 Ga. App. 611, 791 S.E.2d 187 (2016); State v. Osterloh, 342 Ga. App. 668, 804 S.E.2d 696 (2017).
- Negligence of motorist colliding with vehicle approaching in wrong lane, 47 A.L.R.2d 6.
Negligence of motorist as to injury or damage occasioned in avoiding collision with vehicle approaching in wrong lane, 47 A.L.R.2d 119.
Applicability of res ipsa loquitur doctrine where motor vehicle leaves road, 79 A.L.R.2d 6.