2021 Georgia Code
Title 40 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic
Chapter 9 - Reporting Accidents; Giving Proof of Financial Responsibility

Cross references.

- Settlement offers and agreement for personal injury, bodily injury, and death from motor vehicle, § 9-11-67.1.

Requirements of motor vehicle liability policies, and coverage of claims against uninsured motorists, § 33-7-11.

Motor vehicle accident reparations, T. 33, C. 34.

Motor carrier bond or insurance, § 40-1-112.

Insurance requirements for operation of motor vehicles generally, § 40-6-10.

Insurance requirements for operation of motorcycles, § 40-6-11.

Proof of financial responsibility regarding motorcycles, § 40-6-12.

Prosecution of separate causes of action for personal injury and property damage caused by wrongful or negligent operation of motor vehicle, § 51-1-32 et seq.

Administrative Rules and Regulations.

- Safety Responsibility of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Driver Services, Driver License Services, Chapter 375-3-7.

Law reviews.

- For article advocating compulsory automobile insurance, see 19 Ga. B.J. 207 (1956). For article arguing against compulsory automobile insurance, see 19 Ga. B.J. 209 (1956). For article advocating moderate reform of auto accident compensation system prior to Georgia's adoption of Ch. 34, T. 33, see 5 Ga. St. B.J. 321 (1969). For comment on Shropshire v. Caylor, 94 Ga. App. 37, 93 S.E.2d 586 (1956), see 19 Ga. B.J. 527 (1957). For comment on Austin v. Smith, 96 Ga. App. 659, 101 S.E.2d 169 (1957), concerning gross negligence in relation to gratuitous automobile guest, see 20 Ga. B.J. 552 (1958). For comment on Frankel v. Cone, 214 Ga. 733, 107 S.E.2d 819 (1959), see 10 Mercer L. Rev. 338 (1959). For comment discussing the unconstitutionality of statutes imposing liability without fault, in light of Corley v. Lewless, 227 Ga. 745, 182 S.E.2d 766 (1971), see 9 Ga. St. B.J. 129 (1972).



  • Decisions Under Prior Law

Decisions Under Prior Law

1. Decisions Under Code 1933, Ch. 68-3

Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Ga. L. 1951, p. 565 and former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3, which dealt with civil liability, are included in the annotations for this Code section.


- Former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3 clearly violated the due process clause of both the federal and state Constitutions for the reason that the statute made the owner of a motor vehicle liable if the vehicle was being used in the prosecution of the business of, or for the benefit of, the owner, even though the vehicle was operated without notice to the owner, or without the owner's knowledge and consent, express or implied. Frankel v. Cone, 214 Ga. 733, 107 S.E.2d 819 (1959), overruled on other grounds, Lott Inv. Corp. v. Gerbing, 242 Ga. 90, 249 S.E.2d 561 (1978), commented on in 10 Mercer L. Rev. 338 (1959) (decided under former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3).

Former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3 was unconstitutional. Redd v. Brisbon, 113 Ga. App. 23, 147 S.E.2d 15 (1966) (decided under former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3).

Purpose of traffic laws.

- Georgia lawmakers enacted traffic laws to address the problem of injury and damage, daily occurring in this state and elsewhere, resulting from the careless, incompetent, and unlawful operation of automobiles and other motor vehicles along the roads and highways. Jones v. Dixie Drive It Yourself Sys., 97 Ga. App. 669, 104 S.E.2d 497 (1958) (decided under former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3).

Chapter unambiguous.

- Former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3, having clearly and plainly made the owner liable when the vehicle is negligently operated for the owner's benefit, is unambiguous and not open to any other construction. McElroy v. McCord, 213 Ga. 695, 100 S.E.2d 880 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3).

Owner liable when vehicle's operation to owner's substantial benefit.

- Former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3 did not require that the operation of the vehicle be for the sole benefit of the owner, and must be construed so as to render the owner liable when the operation is a substantial benefit to the owner and rendered pursuant to the owner's procurement. The effect of this law was to extend the liability of owners of motor vehicles and to render the owners liable for the imputed negligence of another, since, under preexisting law, there would be no such liability, and in effect made proof of the benefit conferred on the owner the equivalent of proof of agency so as to impute the negligence of the operator to the owner. Shropshire v. Caylor, 94 Ga. App. 37, 93 S.E.2d 586 (1956), commented on in 19 Ga. B.J. 527 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3).

Allegation that defendant acted as owner's agent.

- Allegation that the defendant was at the time of an automobile accident an agent and employee of the owner of the vehicle, acting within the course and scope of employment, with the express permission and consent, and for the benefit of the latter, is a sufficient allegation of agency to bind the owner for the tortious misconduct of the defendant. Belch v. Sprayberry, 97 Ga. App. 47, 101 S.E.2d 870 (1958) (decided under former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3).

Allegation that operator holds title for benefit of defendant.

- When, in an action growing out of the negligent operation of an automobile, the liability of the defendant is dependent upon the defendant's right to the possession, dominion, and control of the property, the mere allegation that the operator holds trust title to the property for the benefit and convenience of the defendant is insufficient to show such possession, dominion, and control on the part of the defendant as will sustain the action. Belch v. Sprayberry, 97 Ga. App. 47, 101 S.E.2d 870 (1958) (decided under former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3).

Circumstances under which driver agent of bailee.

- When the owner of an automobile arranges with the owners of a certain service station to have the owner's car washed and greased and, by arrangement with an employee of the service station, the car is to be returned to the owner after the work on the car has been completed, the agreement to redeliver the car is a part of the contract of bailment and the car's driver is the agent of the bailee, not the bailor. Shropshire v. Caylor, 94 Ga. App. 37, 93 S.E.2d 586 (1956), commented on in 19 Ga. B.J. 527 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3).

Verdict against owner unsupported by evidence.

- There being no evidence in an action for damages resulting from a tractor-car accident, direct or circumstantial, sufficient to authorize an inference that the owner knew of or consented to the owner's farm tractor being driven by the owner's grandson when the accident occurred, and no evidence as to a course of conduct from which such consent could be implied, the verdict against the owner was wholly without evidence to support the verdict. Powell v. Mauldin, 102 Ga. App. 606, 117 S.E.2d 234 (1960) (decided under former Code 1933, Ch. 68-3).

2. Decisions Under Ga. L. 1951, P. 565

Duties and actions of department in suspending licenses constitutional.

- Duties and actions of the Department of Public Safety in suspending licenses under Ga. L. 1951, p. 565 when there is neither insurance nor financial ability to compensate others for damages from accidents are all clearly administrative, and therefore are not judicial, in violation of the state Constitution. Turmon v. Department of Pub. Safety, 222 Ga. 843, 152 S.E.2d 884 (1967) (decided under Ga. L. 1951, p. 565).

Chapter wise, just, and valid.

- Ga. L. 1951, p. 565, which attaches the penalty of withdrawing the license when a licensee is not complying with that law and is involved in a wreck, is wise, just, and valid. Turmon v. Department of Pub. Safety, 222 Ga. 843, 152 S.E.2d 884 (1967) (decided under Ga. L. 1951, p. 565).

Purpose of insurance certificate.

- Effect of a certificate issued to the Department of Public Safety by an insurance company, if that certificate states that a person has been issued an operator's policy, is to certify that the person has automobile liability insurance which covers the person while operating a motor vehicle, regardless of whether or not the motor vehicle is being used as a livery conveyance. Davis v. Reserve Ins. Co., 220 Ga. 335, 138 S.E.2d 657 (1964) (decided under Ga. L. 1951, p. 565).

Insurer barred from asserting coverage nonexistent following certification.

- An insurer will be barred from asserting that coverage does not exist under an automobile liability policy if the insurer has certified, in accordance with a financial responsibility law, that the policy issued to the insured does provide such coverage, and a driver's license is issued on the basis of the certificate. Davis v. Reserve Ins. Co., 220 Ga. 335, 138 S.E.2d 657 (1964) (decided under Ga. L. 1951, p. 565).


Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under Ga. L. 1951, p. 565 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Persons in military service.

- Department is not precluded from implementing provisions of Ga. L. 1951, p. 565 against one in military service. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-428 (rendered under Ga. L. 1951, p. 565).



- Responsibility of public officer for negligence of subordinate in operation of vehicle, 3 A.L.R. 149.

Dangerous instrumentality doctrine as applied to automobile, 16 A.L.R. 270.

Liability of employer for injuries inflicted by automobile while being driven by or for salesman or collector, 17 A.L.R. 621; 29 A.L.R. 470; 54 A.L.R. 627; 107 A.L.R. 419.

Automobile liability insurance, 28 A.L.R. 1301; 41 A.L.R. 507.

Liability of undertaker or funeral director for injury to passenger in vehicle furnished by former, 29 A.L.R. 827.

Civil rights and liabilities as affected by failure to comply with regulations as to registration of automobile or licensing of operator, 35 A.L.R. 62; 38 A.L.R. 1038; 43 A.L.R. 1153; 54 A.L.R. 374; 58 A.L.R. 532; 61 A.L.R. 1190; 78 A.L.R. 1028; 87 A.L.R. 1469; 111 A.L.R. 1258; 163 A.L.R. 1375.

Automobiles: liability of owner for negligence of one to whom car is loaned or hired, 36 A.L.R. 1137; 68 A.L.R. 1008; 100 A.L.R. 920; 168 A.L.R. 1364.

Civil rights and liabilities as affected by failure to comply with statute upon sale of motor vehicle, 37 A.L.R. 1465; 52 A.L.R. 701; 63 A.L.R. 688; 94 A.L.R. 948.

Ownership of automobile as prima facie evidence of responsibility for negligence of person operating it, 42 A.L.R. 898; 74 A.L.R. 951; 96 A.L.R. 634.

Chauffeur in general employment of owner as servant for time being of owner, or of borrower of car, 42 A.L.R. 1446.

Liability for injury to child playing on or in proximity to automobile, 44 A.L.R. 434.

Liability of owner for negligence of one permitted by the former's servant, or member of his family, to drive automobile, 44 A.L.R. 1382; 54 A.L.R. 851; 98 A.L.R. 1053; 134 A.L.R. 974.

Personal care required of one riding in an automobile driven by another as affecting his right to recover against third persons, 47 A.L.R. 293; 63 A.L.R. 1432; 90 A.L.R. 984.

Automobiles: liability of owner or operator for injury to guest, 47 A.L.R. 327; 51 A.L.R. 581; 61 A.L.R. 1252; 65 A.L.R. 952.

Constitutionality and effect of statute relating to civil liability of person driving automobile while under influence of liquor, 56 A.L.R. 327.

Liability for damage or injury by skidding motor vehicle, 58 A.L.R. 264; 113 A.L.R. 1002.

Driving automobile at a speed which prevents stopping within length of vision as negligence, 58 A.L.R. 1493; 87 A.L.R. 900; 97 A.L.R. 546.

Liability of master for injury to one whom servant, in violation of instructions, permits to ride on vehicle, 62 A.L.R. 1167; 74 A.L.R. 163.

Owner's liability for injury by automobile while being used for servant's own pleasure or business, 68 A.L.R. 1051; 51 A.L.R.2d 8; 51 A.L.R.2d 120; 52 A.L.R.2d 350.

Liability for injury in collision with automobile standing on wrong side of street or highway, 70 A.L.R. 1021.

Right, as against vehicle owner, of one not in his general employment injured while assisting in remedying conditions due to accident to automobile or truck in highway, 72 A.L.R. 1283.

Excessive speed of automobile as proximate cause of accident where it or colliding vehicle is on wrong side of road, 77 A.L.R. 598.

Liability for damages by vehicle trailers, 84 A.L.R. 281.

Automobiles: liability of parent for injury to or death of child's guest by negligent operation of car, 88 A.L.R. 590.

Liability of owner under "family purpose" doctrine, for injuries by automobile while being used by member of his family, 88 A.L.R. 601; 100 A.L.R. 1021; 132 A.L.R. 981.

What conduct in driving automobile amounts to wantonness, willfulness, or the like, precluding defense of contributory negligence, 92 A.L.R. 1367; 119 A.L.R. 654.

What amounts to gross negligence, recklessness, or the like, within statute limiting liability of owner or operator of automobile for injury to guest, 96 A.L.R. 1479.

Evidence of specific acts or reputation as admissible to prove incompetency of motor vehicle driver, or defendant's knowledge thereof, in action against one permitting alleged incompetent to drive, 120 A.L.R. 1311.

Distraction of attention of driver of automobile as affecting question of negligence, wantonness, etc., or contributory negligence, 120 A.L.R. 1513.

Liability of owner or one in charge of automobile for injury due to its condition, to one, other than his employee or bailee for use, engaged in some service or operation in connection with it, 122 A.L.R. 1023.

Admissibility and weight of evidence as to condition of automobile or parts thereof after accident, on issue as to responsibility for accident, 129 A.L.R. 438.

Necessity and sufficiency, in complaint or declaration in action for injury or damage due to dangerous condition of automobile or other machine, of allegations as to particular defects, 129 A.L.R. 1274.

Injury to guest of operator as within statutory or nonstatutory rule which makes owner of automobile liable for negligence of another operating the car with his consent, 131 A.L.R. 891.

Civil or criminal liability of one in charge of an automobile who permits an unlicensed person to operate it, 137 A.L.R. 475.

Conduct of operator of automobile at railroad crossing as gross negligence, recklessness, etc., within guest statute, 143 A.L.R. 1144.

Commencement and termination of host and guest relationship within statute or rule as to liability for injury to automobile guest, 146 A.L.R. 682.

Infant owner as within statute which makes owner of automobile responsible or creates a lien for injury or death inflicted by another operating automobile, 146 A.L.R. 701.

Liability of owner of automobile for negligence while it is being operated by another with his consent as affected by immunity of the operator (or his employer) from liability or action, 152 A.L.R. 1058.

Scope of consent or permission with respect to time or place of operation of car by another as affecting owner's liability for injury, 159 A.L.R. 1309.

Automobile owner's common-law liability for negligence in entrusting car to known incompetent, reckless, or inexperienced person as affected by statute limiting owner's liability to use within terms of consent, 163 A.L.R. 1418.

Guest's knowledge that automobile driver has been drinking as precluding recovery, under guest statutes or equivalent common-law rule, 15 A.L.R.2d 1165.

Joint enterprise rules as applicable to the hiring, lease, or bailment of an airplane, 18 A.L.R.2d 929.

Liability of motor vehicle owner or operator for accident occasioned by blowout or other failure of tire, 24 A.L.R.2d 161.

Liability for injury incident to towing automobile, 30 A.L.R.2d 1019.

Proof, in absence of direct testimony by survivors or eyewitnesses, of who, among occupants of motor vehicle, was driving it at time of accident, 32 A.L.R.2d 988.

Right of motor vehicle owner liable to injured third person because of negligence of one permitted to drive, to indemnity from the latter or the latter's employer to whom vehicle was bailed, 43 A.L.R.2d 879.

Deviation from employment in use of employer's car during regular hours of work, 51 A.L.R.2d 8; 51 A.L.R.2d 120; 52 A.L.R.2d 350.

Route driver or salesman as independent contractor or employee of merchandise producer or processor, for purposes of respondeat superior doctrine, 53 A.L.R.2d 183.

Liability of employer for negligent operation of motor vehicle by automobile salesman, 53 A.L.R.2d 631.

Rights of seller of motor vehicle with respect to purchase price or security on failure to comply with laws concerning transfer of title, 58 A.L.R.2d 1351.

Vehicle owner or his agent having general right of possession and control as guest of driver within automobile guest statute or similar rule, 65 A.L.R.2d 312.

Intoxication, unconsciousness, or mental incompetency of person as affecting his status as guest within automobile guest statute or similar common-law rule, 66 A.L.R.2d 1319.

Liability of taxicab carrier to passenger injured while boarding vehicle, 75 A.L.R.2d 988.

Liability for personal injury or property damage, for negligence in teaching or supervision of learning driver, 5 A.L.R.3d 271.

Share-the-ride arrangement or car pool as affecting status of automobile rider as guest, 10 A.L.R.3d 1087.

Liability based on entrusting automobile to one who is intoxicated or known to be excessive user of intoxicants, 19 A.L.R.3d 1175.

What amounts to negligence within meaning of statutes penalizing negligent homicide by operation of a motor vehicle, 20 A.L.R.3d 473.

Liability of motorist who left key in ignition for damage or injury caused by stranger operating the vehicle, 45 A.L.R.3d 787.

Liability or recovery in automobile negligence action as affected by absence or insufficiency of lights on parked or standing motor vehicle, 61 A.L.R.3d 13.

Constitutionality of automobile and aviation guest statutes, 66 A.L.R.3d 532.

Infant as guest within automobile guest statutes, 66 A.L.R.3d 601.

Who is "owner" within statute making owner responsible for injury or death inflicted by operator of automobile, 74 A.L.R.3d 739.

Motor carrier's liability for personal injury or death of passenger caused by debris, litter, or other foreign object on floor or seat of vehicle, 1 A.L.R.4th 1249.

Combining or "stacking" uninsured motorist coverages provided in policies issued by different insurers to different insureds, 28 A.L.R.4th 362.

Automobiles: liability for U-Turn collisions, 53 A.L.R.4th 849.

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