Cross references. - Regulation of retail installment sales of motor vehicles, § 10-1-30 et seq.

Regulation of sales of gasoline and other petroleum products generally, § 10-1-140 et seq.

Size and weight restrictions pertaining to motor vehicles and loads, § 32-6-20 et seq.

Motor vehicle accident insurance, § 33-7-11 and T. 33, C. 34.

Regulation of operation of self-service motor fuel dispensing pumps, § 36-60-1 .

Adoption of ordinances and authority to contract for removal of junked motor vehicles, § 36-60-4 .

Installation of road grates to accommodate bicycles, § 36-60-5 .

Regulation of activities of driver training schools and instructors, T. 43, C. 13.

Regulation of motor vehicle racetracks, T. 43, C. 25.

Regulation of used car and car parts dealers, T. 43, C. 47.

Penalty for unauthorized display of sign, tag, or other documents on motor vehicle so as to convey impression that owner of motor vehicle is member of Governor's staff, § 45-1-3 .

Motor carriers, T. 46, C. 7.

Motor fuel taxes, § 48-9-1 et seq.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Law on motor vehicles and traffic must be strictly construed. O'Steen v. Boone, 117 Ga. App. 174 , 160 S.E.2d 229 (1968).

Applicability of title to motorcycles. - Motorcycle is subject to the provisions of the law on motor vehicles and traffic (see now O.C.G.A. T. 40) in general and to those of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-20 in particular. Grange Mut. Cas. Co. v. King, 174 Ga. App. 716 , 331 S.E.2d 41 (1985).

Motorcycles taxed separately. - General Assembly, in providing license taxes, separated motorcycles from the general class of motor vehicles. Bullard v. Life & Cas. Ins. Co., 178 Ga. 673 , 173 S.E. 855 , answer conformed to, 49 Ga. App. 27 , 174 S.E. 256 (1934).

Cited in Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Benton, 175 Ga. 491 , 165 S.E. 593 (1932).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Purpose of motor vehicle and traffic law. - Overall primary purpose of the law on motor vehicles and traffic is to provide for the registration and licensing of motor vehicles, including providing dealers with the convenience of a special tag, transferable at will from vehicle to vehicle. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 473.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR. - Liability of owner or operator of motor vehicle for injury caused thereby while it is being repaired or serviced, 15 A.L.R.3d 1387.

Criminal liability based on violation of statute or ordinance specifically regulating operation of snowmobile, 45 A.L.R.3d 1438.

Search and seizure: lawfulness of demand for driver's license, vehicle registration, or proof of insurance, pursuant to police stop to assist motorist, 19 A.L.R.5th 884.

CHAPTER 1 IDENTIFICATION AND REGULATION

General Provisions.

Transportation of Hazardous Materials.

Motor Carriers.

G EORGIA MOTOR CARRIER ACT OF 2012 .

C ERTIFICATION OF MOTOR CARRIERS .

G EORGIA LIMOUSINE CARRIERS .

R IDE SHARE NETWORK SERVICES AND TRANSPORTATION REFERRAL SERVICES .

G EORGIA PEER-TO-PEER CAR-SHARING PROGRAM .

Cross references. - Exemption for transit service buses, motor vehicles, and rapid rail systems from requirements relating to identification and regulation of motor vehicles, § 32-10-63.1 .

Editor's notes. - Since the purpose of Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, was to "revise, reorganize, modernize, consolidate, and clarify" laws relating to certain aspects of the motor vehicle code, wherever it was possible to do so, other Acts amending Title 40 were construed in conjunction with Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048. This construction particularly includes Acts amending a given Code section when the Code section was later renumbered or redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Chapter applicable to self-propelled vehicles over public highways and roads. - Licensing and regulating statutes as are now contained in the motor vehicle law only apply as to those vehicles that are capable of being operated generally over the public highways and roads of this state by reason of their own self-propelled mechanical power, and not to those vehicles whose orbit of operation is limited to the length of a trolley wire constructed and maintained under a franchise. Thompson v. Georgia Power Co., 73 Ga. App. 587 , 37 S.E.2d 622 (1946).

Civil recovery not necessarily precluded by violation of provisions. - Fact that the decedent was driving an automobile in violation of the statutes regulating the use of motor vehicles would not necessarily preclude any sort of civil recovery. Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Benton, 43 Ga. App. 495 , 159 S.E. 717 (1931), rev'd on other grounds, 175 Ga. 491 , 165 S.E. 593 (1932).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR. - Motorcycle as within contract, statute, or ordinance in relation to motor cars, motor-driven cars, etc., 48 A.L.R. 1090 ; 70 A.L.R. 1253 .

Liability for killing or injuring, by motor vehicle, livestock or fowl on highway, 55 A.L.R.4th 822.

ARTICLE 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS

40-1-1. Definitions.

As used in this title, the term:

  1. "Alcohol concentration" means grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
  2. "Alley" means a street or highway intended to provide access to the rear or side of lots or buildings in urban districts and not intended for the purpose of through vehicular traffic.
  3. "All-terrain vehicle" means a motorized vehicle originally manufactured for off-highway use which is equipped with three or more nonhighway tires, is 80 inches or less in width with a dry weight of 2,500 pounds or less, and is designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain.
  4. "Arterial street" means any U.S. or state numbered route, controlled-access highway, or other major radial or circumferential street or highway designated by local authorities within their respective jurisdictions as part of a major arterial system of streets or highways.
  5. "Authorized emergency vehicle" means a motor vehicle belonging to a public utility corporation or operated by the Department of Transportation and designated as an emergency vehicle by the Department of Public Safety; a motor vehicle belonging to a fire department or a certified private vehicle belonging to a volunteer firefighter or a fire-fighting association, partnership, or corporation; an ambulance; or a motor vehicle belonging to a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency, provided such vehicle is in use as an emergency vehicle by one authorized to use it for that purpose.

    (5.1) "Automated driving system" means the hardware and software that are collectively capable of performing the entire dynamic driving task on a sustained basis, regardless of whether it is limited to a specific operational design domain.

  6. "Bicycle" means every device propelled by human power upon which any person may ride, having only two wheels which are in tandem and either of which is more than 13 inches in diameter.

    (6.1) "Bicycle lane" means a portion of the roadway that has been designated by striping, pavement markings, or signage for the exclusive or preferential use of persons operating bicycles and electric assisted bicycles. Bicycle lanes shall at a minimum, unless impracticable, be required to meet accepted guidelines, recommendations, and criteria with respect to planning, design, operation, and maintenance as set forth by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

    (6.2) "Bicycle path" means a right of way under the jurisdiction and control of this state or a local political subdivision thereof designated for use by bicycle and electric assisted bicycle riders.

    (6.3) "Bicycle trailer" means every device pulled by a bicycle and designed by the manufacturer of such device to carry human passengers.

  7. "Bus" means every motor vehicle designed for carrying more than ten passengers and used for the transportation of persons and every motor vehicle, other than a taxicab, designed and used for the transportation of persons for compensation.
  8. "Business district" means the territory contiguous to and including a highway when within any 600 feet along such highway there are buildings in use for business or industrial purposes, including but not limited to hotels, banks, office buildings, railroad stations, and public buildings which occupy at least 300 feet of frontage on one side or 300 feet collectively on both sides of the highway.

    (8.1) "Commercial motor vehicle" means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in intrastate or interstate commerce or both to transport passengers or property when the vehicle:

    1. Has a gross vehicle weight rating, gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight, or gross combination weight of 4,536 kg (10,001 lbs.) or more;
    2. Is designed or used to transport more than eight passengers, including the driver, for compensation;
    3. Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
    4. Is used to transport material determined to be hazardous by the secretary of the United States Department of Transportation under 49 U.S.C. Section 5103 and transported in a quantity that requires placards under regulations prescribed under 49 C.F.R., Subtitle B, Chapter I, Subchapter C.
  9. "Controlled-access highway" means every highway, street, or roadway in respect to which owners or occupants of abutting lands and other persons have no legal right of access to or from the same except only at such points and in such manner as may be determined by the public authority having jurisdiction over such highway, street, or roadway.
  10. "Crosswalk" means:
    1. That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway; or
    2. Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.
  11. "Dealer" means a person engaged in the business of buying, selling, or exchanging vehicles who has an established place of business in this state.
  12. "Demonstrator" means any motor vehicle which has not been the subject of a sale at retail to the general public but which has been operated on the roads of this state in the course of a motor vehicle dealer's business.
  13. "Divided highway" means a highway divided into two or more roadways by leaving an intervening space or by a physical barrier or by a clearly indicated dividing section so constructed as to impede vehicular traffic.
  14. "Driver" means every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle.
  15. "Driver's license" means any license to operate a motor vehicle issued in either a physical or electronic format under the laws of this state.

    (15.1) "DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program" means a program certified by the Department of Driver Services in accordance with subsection (e) of Code Section 40-5-83.

    (15.2) "Dynamic driving task" means all of the real-time operational and tactical functions required to operate a vehicle in on-road traffic, excluding the strategic functions such as trip scheduling and selection of destinations and waypoints, including without limitation:

    (15.3) "Electric assisted bicycle" means a device with two or three wheels which has a saddle and fully operative pedals for human propulsion and also has an electric motor having a power output of not more than 750 watts.

    (15.4) "Electric personal assistive mobility device" or "EPAMD" means a self-balancing, two nontandem wheeled device designed to transport only one person and having an electric propulsion system with average power of 750 watts (1 horsepower) and a maximum speed of less than 20 miles per hour on a paved level surface when powered solely by such propulsion system and ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds.

    1. Lateral vehicle motion control via steering;
    2. Longitudinal motion control via acceleration and deceleration;
    3. Monitoring the driving environment via object and event detection, recognition, classification, and response preparation;
    4. Object and event response execution;
    5. Maneuver planning; and
    6. Enhancing conspicuity via lighting, signaling, and gesturing.
  16. "Explosives" means any chemical compound or mechanical mixture that is commonly used or intended for the purpose of producing an explosion and which contains any oxidizing and combustive units or other ingredients in such proportions, quantities, or packing that an ignition by fire, by friction, by concussion, by percussion, or by detonator of any part of the compound or mixture may cause such a sudden generation of highly heated gases that the resultant gaseous pressures are capable of producing destructive effects on contiguous objects or of destroying life or limb.
  17. "Flammable liquid" means any liquid which has a flash point of 141 degrees Fahrenheit or less.

    (17.1) "Former military motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle which operates on the ground, including a trailer, that was manufactured for use in any country's military forces and is maintained to represent its military design, regardless of the vehicle's size, weight, or year of manufacture. Such term shall not include motor vehicles armed for combat or vehicles owned or operated by this state, the United States, or any foreign government.

    (17.2) "Fully autonomous vehicle" means a motor vehicle equipped with an automated driving system that has the capability to perform all aspects of the dynamic driving task without a human driver within a limited or unlimited operational design domain and will not at any time request that a driver assume any portion of the dynamic driving task when the automated driving system is operating within its operational design domain.

    (17.3) "Golf car" or "golf cart" means any motorized vehicle designed for the purpose and exclusive use of conveying one or more persons and equipment to play the game of golf in an area designated as a golf course. For such a vehicle to be considered a golf car or golf cart, its average speed shall be less than 15 miles per hour (24 kilometers per hour) on a level road surface with a 0.5% grade (0.3 degree) comprising a straight course composed of a concrete or asphalt surface that is dry and free from loose material or surface contamination with a minimum coefficient of friction of 0.8 between tire and surface.

  18. "Gross weight" means the weight of a vehicle without load plus the weight of any load thereon.

    (18.1) "Hazardous material" means a substance or material as designated pursuant to the Federal Hazardous Materials Law, 49 U.S.C. Section 5103(a).

  19. "Highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.
  20. "House trailer" means:
    1. A trailer or semitrailer which is designed, constructed, and equipped as a dwelling place or living abode (either permanently or temporarily) and is equipped for use as a conveyance on streets and highways; or
    2. A trailer or a semitrailer whose chassis and exterior shell is designed and constructed for use as a house trailer, as defined in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, but which is used instead permanently or temporarily for the advertising, sales, display, or promotion of merchandise or services, or for any other commercial purpose except the transportation of property for hire or the transportation of property for distribution by a private carrier.

    (20.1) "Identification card" means any document in either a physical or electronic format issued by the Department of Driver Services under the laws of this state for purposes of proving identity of the holder.

  21. "Implement of husbandry" means a vehicle designed and adapted exclusively for agricultural, horticultural, or livestock-raising operations or for lifting or carrying an implement of husbandry and in either case not subject to registration if used upon the highways.

    (21.1) "Infant sling" means every device which is designed by the manufacturer to be worn by a person for the purpose of carrying an infant either on the chest or back of the wearer.

    1. "Intersection" means the area embraced within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or, if none, then the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of two highways which join one another at, or approximately at, right angles, or the area within which vehicles traveling upon different highways joining at any other angle may come in conflict.
    2. Where a highway includes two roadways 30 feet or more apart, then every crossing of each roadway of such divided highway by an intersecting highway shall be regarded as a separate intersection. In the event such intersecting highway also includes two roadways 30 feet or more apart, then every crossing of two roadways of such highways shall be regarded as a separate intersection.
    3. The junction of an alley with a street or highway shall not constitute an intersection.
  22. "Laned roadway" means a roadway which is divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for vehicular traffic.
  23. "License" or "license to operate a motor vehicle" means any driver's license or any other license or permit to operate a motor vehicle issued in either a physical or electronic format under, or granted by, the laws of this state, including:
    1. Any temporary license or instruction permit;
    2. The privilege of any person to drive a motor vehicle whether or not such person holds a valid license; and
    3. Any nonresident's operating privilege as defined in this Code section.
      1. Is used to transport hazardous materials in a type and quantity for which placards are not required in accordance with the Hazardous Materials Regulations prescribed by the United States Department of Transportation, Title 49 C.F.R. Part 172, Subpart F, or compatible rules prescribed by the commissioner of public safety;
      2. Is used to transport property for compensation;
      3. Is used to transport passengers for compensation, other than a taxicab; or
      4. Is a wrecker or tow truck.

    (24.1) "Lightweight commercial vehicle" means a motor vehicle which does not meet the definition of a commercial motor vehicle and which, in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise:

    (24.2) "Limousine" has the same meaning as provided in paragraph (4) of Code Section 40-1-151.

  24. "Local authorities" means every county, municipal, and other local board or body having authority to enact laws relating to traffic under the Constitution and laws of this state.

    (25.1) "Low-speed vehicle" means any four-wheeled vehicle whose top speed attainable in one mile is greater than 20 miles per hour but not greater than 25 miles per hour on a paved level surface and which is manufactured or converted to comply with standards based upon those federal motor vehicle safety standards for low-speed vehicles set forth in 49 C.F.R. Section 571.500, as amended.

    (25.2) "Managed lane" means a designated lane or series of designated lanes which utilize tolls payable to the State Road and Tollway Authority and which may use other lane management strategies in order to manage the flow of traffic. Such additional lane management strategies may include, but are not limited to, value pricing, vehicle occupancy requirements, or vehicle type restrictions, or any combination thereof.

  25. "Manufacturer" means a person engaged in the manufacture of vehicles and who has an established place of business in this state. Pertaining to PTVs only, the term "manufacturer" also means any person engaged in the manufacture of vehicles who does business in this state, including but not limited to any person who makes modifications to a vehicle that are not approved by the original equipment manufacturer and which may adversely affect the safe operation and performance of the vehicle.

    (26.1) "Manufacturer headquarters" means the headquarters operation of:

    1. A manufacturer as defined in paragraph (26) of this Code section; or
    2. An affiliate of a person engaged in the manufacture of vehicles in this or any other state and which operation is conducted primarily at an established place of business in this state.
  26. "Metal tire" means every tire of which the surface in contact with the highway is wholly or partly of metal or other hard, nonresilient material. A vehicle shall be considered equipped with metal tires when metal tires are used on two or more wheels.

    (27.1) "Minimal risk condition" means a low-risk operating mode in which a fully autonomous vehicle operating without a human driver achieves a reasonably safe state, such as bringing the vehicle to a complete stop, upon experiencing a failure of the vehicle's automated driving system that renders the vehicle unable to perform the entire dynamic driving task.

  27. "Moped" means a motor driven cycle equipped with two or three wheels, with or without foot pedals to permit muscular propulsion, and an independent power source providing a maximum of two brake horsepower. If a combustion engine is used, the maximum piston or rotor displacement shall be 3.05 cubic inches (50 cubic centimeters) regardless of the number of chambers in such power source. The power source shall be capable of propelling the vehicle, unassisted, at a speed not to exceed 30 miles per hour (48.28 kilometers per hour) on level road surface and shall be equipped with a power drive system that functions directly or automatically only, not requiring clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged.

    (28.1) "Motor carrier" shall have the same meaning as provided for in Code Section 40-2-1, and the terms "carrier" and "motor carrier" are synonymous.

  28. "Motorcycle" means every motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor, all-terrain vehicle, and moped.
  29. "Motor driven cycle" means every motorcycle, with a motor which produces not to exceed five brake horsepower, and every moped.
  30. "Motor home" means every motor vehicle designed, used, or maintained primarily as a mobile dwelling, office, or commercial space.
  31. Reserved.
  32. "Motor vehicle" means every vehicle which is self-propelled other than an electric assisted bicycle or an electric personal assistive mobility device (EPAMD).

    (33.1) "Multipurpose off-highway vehicle" means any motorized vehicle having features specifically intended for utility use and having the following characteristics:

    1. Has the capability to transport persons or cargo or both;
    2. Operates between 25 miles per hour (40.2 kilometers per hour) and 50 miles per hour (80.4 kilometers per hour);
    3. Has an overall width of 80 inches (2,030 millimeters) or less, exclusive of accessories or attachments;
    4. Is designed to travel on four or more wheels;
    5. Uses a steering wheel for steering control;
    6. Contains a nonstraddle seat;
    7. Has a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 4,000 pounds (1,814 kilograms); and
    8. Has a minimum cargo capacity of 350 pounds (159 kilograms).
  33. "New motor vehicle" means any motor vehicle which is not a demonstrator and has never been the subject of a sale at retail to the general public.
  34. "Nonresident" means every person who is not a resident of this state.
  35. "Nonresident's operating privilege" means the privilege conferred upon a nonresident by the laws of this state pertaining to the operation by such person of a motor vehicle or the use of a vehicle owned by such person in this state.
  36. "Official traffic-control devices" means all signs, signals, markings, and devices not inconsistent with this title which are placed or erected by authority of a public body or official having jurisdiction for the purpose of regulating, warning, or guiding traffic.

    (37.1) "Operational design domain" means a description of the specific operating domains in which an automated driving system is designed to effectively operate, including but not limited to geographic limitations, roadway types, speed range, and environmental conditions such as weather and limited visibility.

  37. "Operator" means any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle or who causes a fully autonomous vehicle to move or travel with the automated driving system engaged.
  38. "Owner" means a person, other than a lienholder or security interest holder, having the property in or title to a vehicle. The term includes a person entitled to the use and possession of a vehicle subject to a security interest in or lien by another person but excludes a lessee under a lease not intended as security except as otherwise specifically provided in this title.
  39. "Park" or "parking" means the standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading property or passengers.
  40. "Passenger car" means every motor vehicle, except all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, motor driven cycles, multipurpose off-highway vehicles, personal transportation vehicles, and low-speed vehicles, designed for carrying ten passengers or less and used for the transportation of persons.
  41. "Pedestrian" means any person afoot.

    (42.1) "Pedestrian hybrid beacon" means a special type of hybrid beacon used to warn and control traffic at locations without a traffic-control signal to assist pedestrians in crossing a street or highway at a marked crosswalk.

  42. "Person" means every natural person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, or trust.

    (43.1) "Personal transportation vehicle" or "PTV" means:

    (43.2) "Personal transportation vehicle path" or "PTV path" means a right of way under the jurisdiction and control of this state or a local political subdivision thereof designated for use by personal transportation vehicle drivers.

    1. Any motor vehicle having no fewer than three wheels and an unladen weight of 1,300 pounds or less and which cannot operate at more than 20 miles per hour if such vehicle was authorized to operate on local roads by a local authority prior to January 1, 2012. Such vehicles may also be referred to as "motorized carts" in such local ordinances; and
    2. Any motor vehicle:
      1. With a minimum of four wheels;
      2. Capable of a maximum level ground speed of less than 20 miles per hour;
      3. With a maximum gross vehicle unladen or empty weight of 1,375 pounds; and
      4. Capable of transporting not more than eight persons.

        The term does not include mobility aids, including electric personal assistive mobility devices, power wheelchairs, and scooters, that can be used indoors and outdoors for the express purpose of enabling mobility for a person with a disability. The term also does not include any all-terrain vehicle or multipurpose off-highway vehicle.

  43. "Pneumatic tire" means every tire in which compressed air is designed to support the load. A vehicle shall be considered equipped with pneumatic tires when pneumatic tires are used on all wheels.
  44. "Pole trailer" means every vehicle without motive power designed to be drawn by another vehicle and attached to the towing vehicle by means of a reach or pole, or by being boomed or otherwise secured to the towing vehicle, and ordinarily used for transporting long or irregularly shaped loads such as poles, pipes, or structural members capable, generally, of sustaining themselves as beams between the supporting connections.
  45. "Police officer" means every officer authorized to direct or regulate traffic or to make arrests for violations of traffic regulations.
  46. "Private road or driveway" means every way or place in private ownership and used for vehicular traffic by the owner and those having express or implied permission from the owner, but not by other persons.
  47. "Railroad" means a carrier of persons or property upon cars operated upon stationary rails.
  48. "Railroad sign or signal" means any sign, signal, or device erected by authority of a public body or official or by a railroad and intended to give notice of the presence of railroad tracks or the approach of a railroad train.
  49. "Railroad train" means a steam  engine or electric engine or other motor, with or without cars coupled thereto, operated upon rails.

    (50.01) "Recreational off-highway vehicle" means a motorized vehicle designed for off-road use which is equipped with four or more nonhighway tires and which is 65 inches or less in width.

    (50.1) "Regulatory compliance inspection" means the examination of facilities, property, buildings, vehicles, drivers, employees, cargo, packages, records, books, or supporting documentation kept or required to be kept in the normal course of business or enterprise operations.

  50. "Residence district" means the territory contiguous to and including a highway not comprising a business district, when the property on such highway for a distance of 300 feet or more is in the main improved with residences or residences and buildings in use for business.
  51. "Right of way" means the right of one vehicle or pedestrian to proceed in a lawful manner in preference to another vehicle or pedestrian approaching under such circumstances of direction, speed, and proximity as to give rise to danger of collision unless one grants precedence to the other.
  52. "Roadway" means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder. In the event a highway includes two or more separate roadways, the term "roadway" shall refer to any such roadway separately, but not to all such roadways collectively.
  53. "Safety zone" means the area or space officially set apart within a roadway for the exclusive use of pedestrians and which is protected or is so marked or indicated by adequate signs as to be plainly visible at all times while set apart as a safety zone.
  54. "School bus" means:
    1. A motor vehicle operated for the transportation of school children to and from school or school activities or for the transportation of children to and from church or church activities. Such term shall not include a motor vehicle with a capacity of 15 persons or less operated for the transportation of school children to and from school activities or for the transportation of children to and from church or church activities if such motor vehicle is not being used for the transportation of school children to and from school; or
    2. A motor vehicle operated by a local transit system which meets the equipment and identification requirements of Code Section 40-8-115; provided, however, that such vehicle shall be a school bus only while transporting school children and no other passengers to or from school.
  55. "Semitrailer" means every vehicle with or without motive power, other than a pole trailer, designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and so constructed that some part of its weight and that of its load rests upon or is carried by another vehicle.

    (56.1) "Shared use path" means a pathway physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic by an open space or barrier and either within the highway right of way or within an independent right of way and used by bicycles, pedestrians, manual and motorized wheelchairs, and other authorized motorized and nonmotorized users.

  56. "Sidewalk" means that portion of a street between the curb lines, or the lateral lines of a railway, and the adjacent property lines, intended for use by pedestrians.
  57. "Solid tires" means tires of rubber or similarly elastic material that do not depend on confined air for the support of the load. A vehicle shall be considered equipped with solid tires when solid tires are used on two or more wheels.
  58. "Special mobile equipment" means every vehicle not designed or used primarily for the transportation of persons or property and only incidentally operated or moved over a highway, including but not limited to: ditch-digging apparatus, well-boring apparatus, and road construction and maintenance machinery such as asphalt spreaders, bituminous mixers, bucket loaders, tractors other than truck tractors, ditchers, leveling graders, finishing machines, motor graders, road rollers, scarifiers, earth-moving carryalls and scrapers, power shovels and drag lines, and self-propelled cranes and earth-moving equipment. The term does not include house trailers, dump trucks, truck mounted transit mixers, cranes or shovels, or other vehicles designed for the transportation of persons or property to which machinery has been attached.
  59. "Stand" or "standing" means the halting of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers.
  60. "State" means a state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a province of Canada.
  61. "Stop" or "stopping":
    1. When required, means complete cessation from movement; or
    2. When prohibited, means any halting, even momentarily, of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or traffic-control sign or signal.
  62. "Street" means the entire width between boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

    (63.1) "Taxicab" means a motor vehicle for hire which conveys passengers between locations of their choice and is a mode of public transportation for a single passenger or small group for a fee. Such term shall also mean taxi or cab, but not a bus or school bus, limousine, passenger car, or commercial motor vehicle.

  63. "Through highway" means every highway or portion thereof on which vehicular traffic is given preferential right of way and at the entrances to which vehicular traffic from intersecting highways is required by law to yield the right of way to vehicles on such through highway in obedience to a stop sign, yield sign, or other official traffic-control device, when such signs or devices are erected as provided in this title.
  64. "Tractor" means any self-propelled vehicle designed for use as a traveling power plant or for drawing other vehicles but having no provision for carrying loads independently.
  65. "Traffic" means pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, and other conveyances either singly or together while using any highway for purposes of travel.
  66. "Traffic-control signal" means any device, whether manually, electrically, or mechanically operated, by which traffic is alternately directed to stop and permitted to proceed.
  67. "Trailer" means every vehicle with or without motive power, other than a pole trailer, designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and so constructed that no part of its weight rests upon the towing vehicle.
  68. "Tripper service" means regularly scheduled mass transportation service which is open to the fare-paying public but which is also designed or modified to accommodate the needs of elementary or secondary school students and school personnel.
  69. "Truck" means every motor vehicle designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.
  70. "Truck camper" means any structure designed, used, or maintained primarily to be loaded on or affixed to a motor vehicle to provide a mobile dwelling, sleeping place, office, or commercial space.
  71. "Truck tractor" means every motor vehicle designed and used primarily for drawing other vehicles and not so constructed as to carry a load other than a part of the weight of the vehicle and load so drawn.
  72. "Urban district" means the territory contiguous to and including any street which is built up with structures devoted to business, industry, or dwelling houses situated at intervals of less than 100 feet for a distance of a quarter of a mile or more.
  73. "Used motor vehicle" means any motor vehicle which has been the subject of a sale at retail to the general public.
  74. "Vehicle" means every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.
  75. "Wrecker" means a vehicle designed, equipped, or used to tow or carry other motor vehicles by means of a hoist, crane, sling, lift, or roll-back or slide back platform, by a mechanism of a like or similar character, or by any combination thereof, and the terms "tow truck" and "wrecker" are synonymous.

    (Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 2; Code 1933, § 68-101; Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 1-9, 11, 13-21; Ga. L. 1966, p. 183, § 1; Ga. L. 1970, p. 586, § 1; Ga. L. 1973, p. 595, § 1; Ga. L. 1973, p. 598, § 1; Code 1933, § 68A-101, enacted by Ga. L. 1974, p. 633, § 1; Ga. L. 1978, p. 1483, § 1; Ga. L. 1978, p. 2241, §§ 1, 3, 4; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 40; Ga. L. 1983, p. 633, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 691, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1988, p. 1893, § 1; Ga. L. 1989, p. 1792, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 1; Ga. L. 1993, p. 518, § 1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 97, § 40; Ga. L. 1996, p. 236, § 1; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 1; Ga. L. 1999, p. 334, § 1; Ga. L. 2001, p. 4, § 40; Ga. L. 2002, p. 506, § 2; Ga. L. 2002, p. 512, §§ 2, 3; Ga. L. 2002, p. 660, § 4; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1259, § 11; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1378, § 1; Ga. L. 2003, p. 308, §§ 1, 2, 3; Ga. L. 2004, p. 67, § 1; Ga. L. 2004, p. 746, § 1; Ga. L. 2006, p. 428, § 1/HB 654; Ga. L. 2007, p. 652, § 1/HB 518; Ga. L. 2010, p. 143, § 1/HB 1005; Ga. L. 2010, p. 442, § 4/HB 1174; Ga. L. 2011, p. 247, § 1/SB 240; Ga. L. 2011, p. 426, § 1/HB 101; Ga. L. 2011, p. 479, §§ 6, 7, 8/HB 112; Ga. L. 2012, p. 726, §§ 1, 2, 3/HB 795; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40/HB 79; Ga. L. 2014, p. 409, § 1/SB 392; Ga. L. 2014, p. 710, § 1-5/SB 298; Ga. L. 2014, p. 745, § 1/HB 877; Ga. L. 2015, p. 5, § 40/HB 90; Ga. L. 2015, p. 60, § 4-1/SB 100; Ga. L. 2015, p. 1058, § 4/SB 125; Ga. L. 2015, p. 1219, § 1/HB 202; Ga. L. 2017, p. 549, § 1/SB 219; Ga. L. 2019, p. 264, § 2/HB 454; Ga. L. 2019, p. 277, § 1/HB 101; Ga. L. 2020, p. 19, § 1/HB 861; Ga. L. 2020, p. 199, § 3-1/HB 463; Ga. L. 2020, p. 349, § 1/HB 877.)

The 2017 amendment, effective July 1, 2017, added paragraphs (5.1) and (15.2); redesignated former paragraphs (15.2) and (15.3) as present paragraphs (15.3) and (15.4), respectively; added paragraph (17.2); redesignated former paragraph (17.2) as present paragraph (17.3); substituted "(0.3 degree)" for "(0.3 degrees)" in the second sentence of paragraph (17.3); added paragraphs (27.1) and (37.1); and added "or who causes a fully autonomous vehicle to move or travel with the automated driving system engaged" at the end of paragraph (38).

The 2019 amendments. The first 2019 amendment, effective July 1, 2019, added "and electric assisted bicycles" at the end of the first sentence in paragraph (6.1); inserted "and electric assisted bicycle" near the end of paragraph (6.2); in paragraph (15.3), added "having a power output of not more than 750 watts" at the end of the first sentence, deleted the former second and third sentences, which read: "For such a device to be considered an electric assisted bicycle, it shall meet the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, as set forth in 49 C.F.R. Section 571, et seq., and shall operate in such a manner that the electric motor disengages or ceases to function when the brakes are applied. The electric motor in an electric assisted bicycle shall:

"(A) Have a power output of not more than 1,000 watts;

"(B) Be incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour on level ground; and

"(C) Be incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propel the device at or more than 20 miles per hour."; in paragraph (30), deleted "including every motor scooter," following "motorcycle," in the middle and deleted "every bicycle with a motor attached," following "horsepower," near the end; and inserted "electric assisted bicycle or an" in the middle of paragraph (33). The second 2019 amendment, effective July 1, 2019, substituted the present provisions of paragraph (3) for the former provisions, which read: " 'All-terrain vehicle' means any motorized vehicle designed for off-road use which is equipped with four low-pressure tires, a seat designed to be straddled by the operator, and handlebars for steering."; deleted former paragraphs (8.01), (8.1), and (8.2), which contained definitions for Class I, II, and III all-terrain vehicles; and redesignated former paragraph (8.3) as present paragraph (8.1).

The 2020 amendments. The first 2020 amendment, effective June 29, 2020, substituted "or interstate commerce or both" for "and interstate commerce" in paragraph (8.1). The second 2020 amendment, effective June 30, 2020, inserted "in either a physical or electronic format" in paragraph (15); added paragraph (20.1); and inserted "in either a physical or electronic format" in paragraph (24). The third 2020 amendment, effective January 1, 2021, in paragraph (25.1), deleted "electric" following "four-wheeled", substituted "or converted to comply with standards based upon" for "in compliance with", and substituted ", as amended" for "and in effect on January 1, 2001".

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1988, a hyphen was deleted from "motor driven" in paragraphs (28), (30), and (41).

Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1989, "side" was substituted for "sides" in paragraph (2).

Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1993, paragraph (6.3) was redesignated as paragraph (21.1) to place it in alphabetical order.

Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1996, "or" was inserted following the semicolon at the end of subparagraphs (10)(A) and (62)(A) and "49 C.F.R. Section 571, et seq." was substituted for "49 CFR 571 et seq." in paragraph (15.5) (now paragraph (15.3)).

Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1997, a comma was deleted following "another person" in the second sentence of paragraph (39).

The amendment of this Code section by Ga. L. 2002, p. 506, § 2, irreconcilably conflicted with and was treated as superseded by Ga. L. 2002, p. 512, § 2. See County of Butts v. Strahan, 151 Ga. 417 (1921).

Both Ga. L. 2014, p. 409, § 1/SB 392 and Ga. L. 2014, p. 745, § 1/HB 877 enacted a new paragraph (17.1). Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, the paragraph enacted by Ga. L. 2014, p. 745, § 1/HB 877 has been redesignated as paragraph (17.2).

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2015, p. 60, § 6-1/SB 100, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Section 4-9 of Part IV of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2016, and all other parts of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2015, and shall apply to offenses which occur on or after that date."

Ga. L. 2020, p. 19, HB 861, contains two sections numbered as "2". The language in the second Section 2 of the Act provided an effective date for the Act.

U.S. Code. - Provisions concerning the Transportation of Hazardous Materials are codified at 49 U.S.C. § 5101 et seq.

Law reviews. - For article surveying Georgia cases in the area of insurance from June 1977 through May 1978, see 30 Mercer L. Rev. 105 (1978). For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997). For article on the 2017 amendment of this Code section, see 34 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 231 (2017). For note on the 2003 amendment to this Code section, see 20 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 198 (2003). For comment, "Death of the DUI: Should Autonomous Vehicles Be Considered Synonymous to Designated Drivers Under Georgia Law?," see 70 Mercer L. Rev. 1113 (2019).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

ANALYSIS

General Consideration

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 10-13, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

City ordinance did not impair operation of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1(57) . - Definition of "public sidewalk" found in City of Forest Park, Ga., Ordinance § 9-8-45(f) is not unconstitutional as conflicting with state law because nothing in § 9-8-45 impairs the operation of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1(57) ; by the statute's specific terms, § 40-1-1(57), is not intended to be a definition of general application, but defines the term "sidewalk" in the context of Title 40 of the Georgia Code, which is labeled "Motor Vehicles and Traffic," and it does not appear that the definition set forth in § 40-1-1(57) would apply elsewhere in the Code in which the word "sidewalk" is used in other contexts. Braley v. City of Forest Park, 286 Ga. 760 , 692 S.E.2d 595 (2010).

Directing traffic is official police function. - Because a police officer was directing traffic and this activity necessarily is a police function, the officer was acting in the officer's official capacity at the time of a traffic accident, and the officer was entitled to assert official immunity as a defense to a claim of negligent conduct. Sommerfield v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Inc., 235 Ga. App. 375 , 509 S.E.2d 100 (1998).

Parking restrictions do not apply in business districts. - Georgia Court of Appeals concludes that the parking restrictions in O.C.G.A. § 40-6-202 do not apply within a business district and because a business district is comprised of the territory contiguous to and including a highway, the parking restrictions in § 40-6-202 cannot be read to apply to roadways within areas meeting the criteria in O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1(8) . Granger v. MST Transp., LLC, 329 Ga. App. 268 , 764 S.E.2d 872 (2014).

Cited in Tiller v. Georgia Power Co., 68 Ga. App. 224 , 22 S.E.2d 623 (1942); Casteel v. Anderson, 89 Ga. App. 68 , 78 S.E.2d 831 (1953); Horne v. GEICO, 132 Ga. App. 230 , 207 S.E.2d 636 (1974); Avera v. State, 133 Ga. App. 469 , 211 S.E.2d 417 (1974); Prince v. Cotton States Mut. Ins. Co., 143 Ga. App. 512 , 239 S.E.2d 198 (1977); State v. Williams, 156 Ga. App. 813 , 275 S.E.2d 133 (1980); Lott v. Smith, 156 Ga. App. 826 , 275 S.E.2d 720 (1980); Cotton States Mut. Ins. Co. v. Statiras, 157 Ga. App. 169 , 276 S.E.2d 853 (1981); McJunkin v. State, 160 Ga. App. 30 , 285 S.E.2d 756 (1981); Blake v. Continental S.E. Lines, 161 Ga. App. 869 , 289 S.E.2d 551 (1982); Tolbert v. Murrell, 253 Ga. 566 , 322 S.E.2d 487 (1984); Grange Mut. Cas. Co. v. King, 174 Ga. App. 716 , 331 S.E.2d 41 (1985); Pierce County Sch. Dist. v. Greene, 185 Ga. App. 269 , 363 S.E.2d 825 (1987); Metheny v. State, 197 Ga. App. 882 , 400 S.E.2d 25 (1990); Brannan v. State, 261 Ga. 128 , 401 S.E.2d 269 (1991); Lattarulo v. State, 261 Ga. 124 , 401 S.E.2d 516 (1991); Bailey v. Hall, 199 Ga. App. 602 , 405 S.E.2d 579 (1991); Pryor v. Phillips, 222 Ga. App. 116 , 473 S.E.2d 535 (1996); Conley v. State, 281 Ga. App. 841 , 637 S.E.2d 438 (2006); Hite v. Anderson, 284 Ga. App. 156 , 643 S.E.2d 550 (2007); Barron v. State, 291 Ga. App. 494 , 662 S.E.2d 285 (2008).

Alcohol Concentration

Blood to alcohol ratio. - Charges regarding the use of the blood to alcohol ratio have been held to be harmless so long as those charges are given in conjunction with a qualifying instruction regarding the inconclusiveness of the ratio. Therefore, the burden of proof is not shifted to the defendant. Walker v. State, 204 Ga. App. 559 , 420 S.E.2d 17 , cert. denied, 204 Ga. App. 922 , 420 S.E.2d 17 (1992).

Charging the statutory definition of alcohol concentration was not error since the trial court charged the jury that the jury could give the breath test results the weight that the jury deemed fit, including no weight at all. Rindone v. State, 210 Ga. App. 639 , 437 S.E.2d 338 (1993).

Alcohol concentration. - Since the defendant was charged with a crime wherein the "alcohol concentration" of defendant's blood was an element of the offense, and the trial court charged the jury on the statutory definition of "alcohol concentration," the trial court did not err in so charging the jury on the definition of "alcohol concentration." Close v. State, 195 Ga. App. 652 , 394 S.E.2d 563 (1990).

Person "driving" vehicle while guiding vehicle down road. - Person has actual physical control of a vehicle which is unable to move under the vehicle's own power while guiding the vehicle down a road as the vehicle operates under the force of gravity. Harris v. State, 97 Ga. App. 495 , 103 S.E.2d 443 (1958), overruled on other grounds, New v. State, 171 Ga. App. 392 , 319 S.E.2d 542 (1984) and Luke v. State, 177 Ga. App. 518 , 340 S.E.2d 30 (1986) (decided under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 10-13).

Explanation of test results by witness not necessary. - Testing officer's failure to explain the officer's testimony that the defendant's test results were .121 and .116, in terms of the "alcohol concentration" definitions of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1 , did not require reversal since the officer also testified that the machine tested specifically for alcohol and the jury was properly instructed on statutory definitions. Banks v. State, 235 Ga. App. 701 , 509 S.E.2d 63 (1998).

Evidence supports a verdict of drunken "driving" since, at the time the troopers arrived at the scene of the alleged crime, the defendant was sitting under the steering wheel of the automobile and attempting to get the car in gear, the motor of the automobile was running, and the automobile rolled backwards when the witness started to get out of the patrol car. Echols v. State, 104 Ga. App. 695 , 122 S.E.2d 473 (1961) (decided under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 10-13).

Crosswalk

"Crosswalk" at other than intersection must be marked. - Acceptance of any definition of an unmarked "crosswalk" other than that in Ga. L. 1953, Nov.- Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 14-21, or holding that simply because people do cross, even "normally," in order to get to a place of business on the opposite side of a crosswalk would, in effect, make the whole roadway a "crosswalk." If there is to be one other than at the intersection, it must be marked in some manner so that motorists may know of it. Wells v. Alderman, 117 Ga. App. 724 , 162 S.E.2d 18 (1968) (decided under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 14-21).

A "T" intersection did not qualify as an unmarked crosswalk for purposes of a negligence suit brought by pedestrians who were struck at the intersection. McKenzie v. Detenber, 226 Ga. App. 742 , 487 S.E.2d 497 (1997).

Pedestrian proceeding without care in unmarked crosswalk. - Trial court did not err in finding that the defendant violated O.C.G.A. § 40-6-92(a) as it was undisputed that there was no marked crosswalk where the defendant was crossing the road, that the defendant was crossing other than at either a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk, and that the defendant entered the roadway when it was not safe to do so, given the traffic and weather conditions, and failed to yield to motor vehicle traffic. Hill v. State, 341 Ga. App. 409 , 801 S.E.2d 87 (2017).

Highway

Meaning of "highway." - "Highways" are created by legislative authority by dedication, or by prescription. The construction of the term "highway," when used in a statute, depends upon the legislative intent, and no fixed rule in regard to the word's meaning can be given. Powell v. Barker, 96 Ga. App. 592 , 101 S.E.2d 113 (1957) (decided under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 14-21).

Every thoroughfare which is used by the public, and, in the language of the English books, is common to all the king's subjects, is a "highway." Powell v. Barker, 96 Ga. App. 592 , 101 S.E.2d 113 (1957) (decided under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 14-21).

Road which leads only to the residence of a single individual may be a "highway." Powell v. Barker, 96 Ga. App. 592 , 101 S.E.2d 113 (1957) (decided under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 14-21).

Since the term "highway" meant the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof was open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel, the term "highway" included the city streets on which defendant was traveling when it was discovered by police that the defendant was driving without a license; thus, the defendant's conviction for that offense had to be upheld. Scott v. State, 254 Ga. App. 728 , 563 S.E.2d 554 (2002).

Berm or shoulder not part of roadway. - O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1(53) defines the term "roadway" as "that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder. In the event a highway includes two or more separate roadways, the term 'roadway' shall refer to any such roadway separately, but not to all such roadways collectively." The statutory definition excludes the berm or shoulder from being a part of the roadway. Nelson v. State, 317 Ga. App. 527 , 731 S.E.2d 770 (2012).

Need for public invitation for highway opening. - Highway is not open for travel until there has been extended to public an invitation, express or implied, to use the highway. When a highway is open for travel may, under certain circumstances, be a question of law for the court; on the other hand, cases may arise where it would be a question of fact for the jury to determine under all the circumstances of the particular case. Powell v. Barker, 96 Ga. App. 592 , 101 S.E.2d 113 (1957) (decided under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 14-21).

Publicly maintained highway under construction and open to traffic "public highway." - For a highway under construction to be a "public highway," it would be necessary to show only that the highway was publicly maintained, and that the part in question was open for vehicular traffic. Powell v. Barker, 96 Ga. App. 592 , 101 S.E.2d 113 (1957) (decided under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 14-21).

Intersection

Place where private way joins public road. - Area within which private driveway or private way joins with public road is not "intersection" as defined by law. Howard v. Hall, 112 Ga. App. 247 , 145 S.E.2d 70 (1965) (decided under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 14-21).

Jury authorized to find drivers grossly negligent. - Under an application of the rules of law to the facts, the jury was authorized to find from the evidence adduced upon the trial, and the reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom, that the two defendant drivers were grossly negligent in causing the plaintiff's injuries. Lawrence v. Hayes, 92 Ga. App. 778 , 90 S.E.2d 102 (1955) (decided under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 14-21).

Motorcycle

Motorcycles taxed separately. - General Assembly, in providing license taxes, separated "motorcycles" from the general class of "motor vehicles." Bullard v. Life & Cas. Ins. Co., 178 Ga. 673 , 173 S.E. 855 , answer conformed to, 49 Ga. App. 27 , 174 S.E. 256 (1934).

Trail bike is a "motorcycle." Addison v. Southern Guar. Ins. Co., 155 Ga. App. 536 , 271 S.E.2d 674 (1980).

Motor Vehicle

Scope of definition. - Paragraph defining "motor vehicle" includes only those vehicles operated or drawn by their own self-propelled power. Thompson v. Georgia Power Co., 73 Ga. App. 587 , 37 S.E.2d 622 (1946).

Applicability to tractor. - Tractor comes within the definition of a "motor vehicle" under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1 . Browning v. State, 207 Ga. App. 547 , 428 S.E.2d 441 (1993).

Golf cart. - Since a golf cart was a "motorized vehicle" under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1(33) , (75), the defendant had to have a driver's license when driving the golf cart on a highway; the motorized cart statutes, O.C.G.A. §§ 40-6-330 and 40-6-331(b) , (c), authorized licensing of the vehicle, not the driver. Coker v. State, 261 Ga. App. 646 , 583 S.E.2d 498 (2003).

Because: (1) O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a) , by the statute's plain language, applied to any moving vehicle, and, a golf cart was a "vehicle" within the meaning of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1(75) ; (2) the defendant stipulated at trial to driving the golf cart in Fayette County, making such a "moving vehicle" within the scope of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a) , and to being under the influence of alcohol while doing so; and (3) under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-3(a)(3), the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391 applied anywhere in Georgia, whether on a street, highway, or private property, the defendant's DUI conviction was upheld on appeal. Simmons v. State, 281 Ga. App. 252 , 635 S.E.2d 849 (2006).

Evidence regarding theft of a four-wheeler from a dealership was sufficient for a jury to determine that the four-wheeler fit within the definition of a self-propelled vehicle within O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1(33) ; further, the evidence supported defendant's conviction for theft by taking a motor vehicle after a witness saw two men loading the four-wheeler into the back of a truck, the dealership's door looked like the door was pried open or kicked in, and defendant and others were stopped with the four-wheeler, bolt cutters, and a crowbar in the back of the truck. Norwood v. State, 265 Ga. App. 862 , 595 S.E.2d 537 (2004).

Named driver exclusion endorsement precluded coverage since the term "motor vehicle," which does not include all-terrain vehicles, was limited to the policy provisions providing coverage, the language used in the endorsement encompassed the all-terrain vehicle involved in the accident, and since the insured exercised the insured's right to reject uninsured motorist coverage for the named driver. Fountain v. Atlanta Cas. Co., 204 Ga. App. 165 , 419 S.E.2d 67 (1992).

Official Traffic-Control Devices

Turns made in compliance with "official traffic control devices." - Turns should be made from the roadway, but, more particularly, in compliance with the patterns established by the markings ("official traffic control devices") on the road. State v. Williams, 156 Ga. App. 813 , 275 S.E.2d 133 (1980).

No-parking signs. - Properly erected no-parking sign within a municipality is an "official traffic-control device." Fabian v. Vincent, 155 Ga. App. 464 , 270 S.E.2d 858 (1980).

Owner

Natural person, not business, found to be "owner" of vehicle. Purcell v. Allstate Ins. Co., 168 Ga. App. 863 , 310 S.E.2d 530 (1983).

Pedestrian

"Pedestrian" defined. - Defining "pedestrian" under motor vehicle accident insurance provisions involves an examination of the primary purpose or design of the vehicle involved in the accident. Cotton States Mut. Ins. Co. v. Statiras, 157 Ga. App. 169 , 276 S.E.2d 853 (1981).

Rights of pedestrian and driver. - Pedestrian and person with an automobile each have the right to use the public highway; but the right of an operator of an automobile upon the highways is not superior to the right of the pedestrian, and it is the duty of each to exercise their right with due regard to the corresponding rights of the other. Roseberry v. Freeman, 97 Ga. App. 545 , 103 S.E.2d 745 (1958) (decided under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 14-21).

Duties of automobile driver and pedestrian. - Driver of an automobile is bound to use reasonable care and to anticipate the presence on the streets of other persons having equal rights with the driver to be there; and a pedestrian, when lawfully using the public highways, is not bound to be continually looking and listening to ascertain if auto cars are approaching, under the penalty that if the pedestrian fails to do so, and is injured, it must be conclusively presumed that the pedestrian was negligent. Roseberry v. Freeman, 97 Ga. App. 545 , 103 S.E.2d 745 (1958) (decided under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, §§ 14-21).

Right of Way

"Right of way" construed. - At a particular time or place a pedestrian may not have the "right of way" to travel over or across the highway. Roseberry v. Freeman, 97 Ga. App. 545 , 103 S.E.2d 745 (1958).

Pattern charges on yielding the right of way and the duty to yield when entering or crossing a roadway from a private road were proper since, although the defendant did not at first see the plaintiff approaching, the defendant continued into the roadway after the defendant saw the plaintiff. Claxton v. Lee, 229 Ga. App. 357 , 494 S.E.2d 80 (1997).

School Bus

Common carrier for hire. - Bus otherwise being operated as a common carrier for hire is not converted into a school bus simply because school children are incidental passengers thereon. Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Auth. v. Tuck, 163 Ga. App. 132 , 292 S.E.2d 878 (1982).

Special Mobile Equipment

Excavator. - Caterpillar 977L Traxcavator does not fall under the definition of "motor vehicle" found either in O.C.G.A. § 10-1-31(a)(4) or general definition of "motor vehicle" under paragraph (29) (now paragraph (33)) of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1 but does fit the definition of "special mobile equipment" under paragraph (54) (now paragraph (59)) of § 40-1-1 . Battle v. Yancey Bros. Co., 157 Ga. App. 277 , 277 S.E.2d 280 (1981).

Landfill compactor. - Landfill compactor is not a "motor vehicle" as that term is defined in O.C.G.A. § 33-34-2 . Pate v. Turner County, 162 Ga. App. 463 , 291 S.E.2d 400 (1982).

Motor cranes propelled by the separate motor on a truck are not special mobile equipment within the meaning of paragraph (54) (now paragraph (59)) of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1 . Citizens & S. Nat'l Bank v. Georgia Steel, Inc., 25 Bankr. 796 (Bankr. M.D. Ga. 1982).

Trailer. - Term "motor vehicle," as used in former Code 1933, § 68-101, (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1 ), did not include a trailer without motive power not hitched to or being drawn by a motor vehicle. O'Steen v. Boone, 117 Ga. App. 174 , 160 S.E.2d 229 (1968).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

ANALYSIS

General Consideration

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Highway

Reserving city street for officially sanctioned event. - City street which has been closed to the public for purposes of an officially sanctioned activity (such as a drag race) ceases to be a "highway" as defined by paragraph (16) (now paragraph (19)) of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1 . 1983 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U83-53.

Traffic enforcement by use of cameras. - Municipalities are not prohibited by Georgia's Constitution or laws from enacting ordinances regarding enforcement of traffic control devices by the use of cameras. 2000 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U2000-7.

All-terrain vehicles operating on the highways of the State of Georgia are governed by the Uniform Rules of the Road, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-1 et seq. 2007 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 2007-3.

Motor Vehicle

.

Applicability to motor scooter. - Motor scooter came within the definition of a "motor vehicle" under former Code 1933, § 68-101. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 471 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1 ).

Applicability to golf cart. - Golf cart was a vehicle other than a tractor, not operated upon a track, and propelled by other than muscular power; it thus fell within the definition of "motor vehicle" set out in former Code 1933, § 68-101 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1 ); if the golf cart was to be operated upon a public road, the operator must comply with all registration, inspection, and equipment requirements. 1972 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U72-78.

Purchase by political subdivision of governmental license plate. - When the exclusive use and possession of a "motor vehicle" is donated to a municipality or political subdivision for use in a driver education program for a period of more than 30 days, the municipality or political subdivision is entitled to purchase, for use on that vehicle, a governmental license plate. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-246.

State-owned vehicles. - Any state-owned vehicle, including maintenance or construction-type vehicles, comes within definition of term "motor vehicle." 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-448.

Go-cart is a "motor vehicle," and the operator of a go-cart must be licensed; the go-cart must be registered, inspected annually, and equipped with headlights, stop lights, and turn signals. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-194.

Tractor

.

Neither four-wheel tanks nor trailers qualify as "tractors." - Since neither tanks which are mounted on four wheels and used to haul anhydrous ammonia (liquid fertilizer) over public highways nor four-wheel trailers used to haul cotton over public highways to farms can qualify as "tractors," the tanks must be registered and have license plates. 1965-66 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 66-149.

Trailer

.

Trailer cannot qualify for sales tax exemption under former Code 1933, § 91A-4503 (see now O.C.G.A. § 48-8-3 ). 1980 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 80-164.

Air compressor mounted on wheels and drawn by another vehicle is a "trailer." 1958-59 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 211.

Vehicle

.

Classification of a "vehicle" depends upon the object's use, rather than upon the method by which the owner is compensated for the use, or the ownership of the vehicle. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 484.

Both a truck and a trailer are included in the use of the word "vehicle." 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 188.

"Log grapple loader" operated on public highway. - "Log grapple loader" is a truck body with a log loading machine mounted on its back, and the only time that it is used on a highway is in transporting it from one forest to another; if such a "vehicle" is to be operated on the public highways, it must be registered, licensed, and inspected in accordance with the motor vehicle laws. 1973 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U73-82.

Operation of construction equipment by habitual violator. - Driver declared to be a habitual violator and given notice as provided by law is not guilty of the offense of operating a vehicle after having been declared a habitual violator when the driver operates self-propelled road construction equipment which is not designed or used primarily for the transportation of persons or property so long as such a vehicle is not operated on the highways of this state. 1990 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U90-14.

Responsibility for registering "vehicle" under permanent lease. - When a "vehicle" is under a permanent lease (for more than a 30-day period), the state may hold either the legal title holder or the lessee responsible for registration, but primary liability is upon the lessee-operator. 1960-61 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 305.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 1 et seq., 29, 90, 222 et seq., 304, 346. 8 Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 811. 31A Am. Jur. 2d, Explosions and Explosives, § 1. 39 Am. Jur. 2d, Highways, Streets, and Bridges, §§ 1 et seq., 90. 54 Am. Jur. 2d, Mobile Homes and Trailer Parks, § 1. 65 Am. Jur. 2d, Railroads, §§ 2 et seq., 363. 72 Am. Jur. 2d, States, Territories, and Dependencies, § 1.

C.J.S. - 35 C.J.S., Explosives, § 2. 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 1 et seq., 55, 98 et seq., 164. 60A C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 819, 827, 839 et seq., 870, 871, 895, 896. 61 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 949 et seq. 74 C.J.S., Railroads, § 1.

ALR. - Injury to one while coasting in the street, 20 A.L.R. 1433 ; 109 A.L.R. 941 .

Reciprocal duties of drivers of automobiles or other vehicles proceeding in the same direction, 24 A.L.R. 507 ; 47 A.L.R. 703 ; 62 A.L.R. 970 ; 104 A.L.R. 485 .

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 forcing trespasser from moving automobile, 58 A.L.R. 617 .

Motorcycle as within contract, statute, or ordinance in relation to motor cars, motor-driven cars, etc., 70 A.L.R. 1253 .

Applicability of regulations or rules governing vehicular traffic to driveways or other places not legal highways, 80 A.L.R. 469 .

Airplane as within terms "vehicle," "motor vehicle," etc., 165 A.L.R. 916 .

What is "motor vehicle" or the like within statute providing for constructive or substituted service of process on nonresident motorists, 48 A.L.R.2d 1283.

What is a "motor vehicle" within statutes making it an offense to drive while intoxicated, 66 A.L.R.2d 1146.

What is "motor vehicle" within automobile guest statute, 98 A.L.R.2d 543.

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

Who is "pedestrian" entitled to rights and subject to duties provided by traffic regulations or judicially stated, 35 A.L.R.4th 1117.

What is "temporary" building or structure within meaning of restrictive covenant, 49 A.L.R.4th 1018.

Horseback riding or operation of horse-drawn vehicle as within drunk driving statute, 71 A.L.R.4th 1129.

Validity, construction, and effect of statutes or ordinances forbidding automotive "cruising" - practice of driving repeatedly through loop of public roads through city, 87 A.L.R.4th 1110.

Validity, construction, and application of "named driver exclusion" in automobile insurance policy, 33 A.L.R.5th 121.

40-1-2. How horsepower determined.

The Society of Automotive Engineers horsepower rating formula is adopted as the standard for determining the horsepower of passenger-carrying vehicles.

(Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 2; Code 1933, § 68-102; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 1.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 277, 311.

40-1-3. Requiring or permitting unlawful operation of vehicle.

It is unlawful for the owner or any other person employing or otherwise directing the driver of any vehicle to require or knowingly permit the operation of such vehicle upon a highway in any manner contrary to law.

(Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 556, § 122; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 1.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1910, § 1770(1), are included in the annotations for this Code section.

"Automobile" defined. - Term "automobile" has a definite popular significance and is understood to refer to a wheeled vehicle, propelled by gasoline, steam, or electricity, and used for the transportation of persons or merchandise. Carter v. State, 12 Ga. App. 430 , 78 S.E. 205 (1913) (decided under former Code 1910, § 1770(1)).

Words, "propelled by steam, gas, gasoline, electricity, or any other power than muscular," referred to the phrase "any other vehicle," and not to the word "automobile." Carter v. State, 12 Ga. App. 430 , 78 S.E. 205 (1913) (decided under former Code 1910, § 1770(1)).

Former Code 1910, § 1770 included a motorcycle propelled by gasoline. Bonds v. State, 16 Ga. App. 401 , 85 S.E. 629 (1915) (decided under former Code 1910, § 1770(1)).

Use of intoximeter results obtained from driver. - If the state wants to prosecute a party who allowed an intoxicated driver to operate an automobile in violation of the statute governing driving under the influence, the state can use the intoximeter results obtained from the accused operator only if the state can prove that the state's evidence meets the statutory requirements for admissibility under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-392 . Munda v. State, 172 Ga. App. 857 , 324 S.E.2d 799 (1984).

Standing to contest admissibility of intoximeter test. - Person charged with permitting another person to operate an automobile contrary to the law governing driving under the influence has standing to contest the admissibility of an intoximeter test under the statute governing the introduction of such evidence. Munda v. State, 172 Ga. App. 857 , 324 S.E.2d 799 (1984).

Cited in Beck v. Wade, 100 Ga. App. 79 , 110 S.E.2d 43 (1959); Borochoff v. Russell, 108 Ga. App. 266 , 132 S.E.2d 861 (1963).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Unsafe bus on highways for purpose other than repairs. - Once a school bus has been declared unsafe, a misdemeanor citation may be issued each time the bus is found moving on the highways for purposes other than effecting the requisite repairs. 1974 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 74-31.

Issuance of citation to persons other than driver of unsafe vehicle. - Citations may be issued not only to the driver of an unsafe vehicle, but also to any person who knew the vehicle to be in an unsafe condition and yet ordered or directed the driver to take the vehicle upon the highways, and to the owner of the vehicle if the owner knew of the unsafe condition and yet permitted continued operation of the vehicle. 1974 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 74-31.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 223, 236, 268, 285, 286.

C.J.S. - 61A C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 1504 et seq., 1639, 1640, 1751 et seq.

40-1-4. Stickers, decals, or emblems containing profane or lewd words describing sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body.

No person owning, operating, or using a motor vehicle in this state shall knowingly affix or attach to any part of such motor vehicle any sticker, decal, emblem, or other device containing profane or lewd words describing sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body. Any person who violates any part of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $100.00.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-4 , enacted by Ga. L. 1988, p. 1561, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 1.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Section unconstitutional. - O.C.G.A. § 40-1-4 unconstitutionally restricts freedom of expression as guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and by the Georgia Constitution. Cunningham v. State, 260 Ga. 827 , 400 S.E.2d 916 (1991).

40-1-5. Disclosure by dealer of damage to new motor vehicles.

  1. As used in this Code section, the terms "dealer," "distributor," "manufacturer," and "new motor vehicle" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 40-2-39.
  2. Except as provided in this subsection and in subsection (c) of this Code section, prior to the sale of a new motor vehicle, a dealer must disclose to the buyer any damage which has occurred to the vehicle of which the dealer has actual knowledge and which costs more than 5 percent of the manufacturer's suggested retail price to repair.  Prior to the sale of a new motor vehicle, a dealer must also disclose to the buyer any damage which has occurred to the paint of which the dealer has actual knowledge and which costs more than $500.00 to repair.  Damages shall be calculated at the actual cost of such repair.
  3. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in subsection (b) of this Code section, in calculating the amount of damage for purposes of disclosure under subsection (b) of this Code section, a dealer shall not be required to take into account nor shall a dealer be required to disclose damage to glass, tires, wheels, bumpers, radio, or in-dash audio equipment, regardless of cost, so long as the item is replaced with original or reasonably comparable equipment.
  4. Prior to the delivery of a new motor vehicle, each manufacturer, distributor, carrier, or motor vehicle importer must disclose to the dealer any damage which has occurred to the vehicle of which the manufacturer, distributor, carrier, or importer has actual knowledge and which is required to be disclosed to a buyer under subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section. If a manufacturer, distributor, carrier, or motor vehicle importer fails to make any disclosure required by this subsection, then such shall be liable to the dealer for any liability imposed on such dealer for a failure on the part of the dealer to comply with the requirements of this Code section.
  5. Prior to the delivery of a new motor vehicle, each manufacturer, carrier, or motor vehicle importer must disclose to the distributor any damage which has occurred to the vehicle of which the manufacturer, carrier, or importer has actual knowledge and which is required to be disclosed to a buyer under subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section. If a manufacturer, carrier, or motor vehicle importer fails to make any disclosure required by this subsection, then such shall be liable to the distributor for any liability imposed on such distributor for a failure on the part of the distributor to comply with the requirements of this Code section.
  6. If disclosure is not required under this Code section, a buyer may not revoke or rescind a sales contract, and relief may not be sought under this or any other provision of this Code, including Part 2 of Article 15 of Chapter 1 of Title 10 due to the fact that the new motor vehicle was damaged and repaired prior to the sale.
  7. A violation of this Code section shall be a per se violation of Code Section 10-1-393 , and the penalties, procedures, and remedies applicable to violations of Code Section 10-1-393 shall be applicable to a violation of this Code section. (Code 1981, § 40-1-5 , enacted by Ga. L. 1990, p. 1657, § 1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 97, § 40.)

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1990, "40-2-39" was substituted for "40-2-36.1" in subsection (a), since Code Section 40-2-36.1 was redesignated as Code Section 40-2-39 by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2.

Law reviews. - For note on 1990 enactment of this Code section, see 7 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 329 (1990).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Demonstrator qualifies as a "new motor vehicle" under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-5 . Neal Pope, Inc. v. Garlington, 245 Ga. App. 49 , 537 S.E.2d 179 (2000).

Repairs that are necessary to fix damage to a vehicle, regardless of whether those repairs involve replacing damaged car parts, are included in the definition of "repair." Neal Pope, Inc. v. Garlington, 245 Ga. App. 49 , 537 S.E.2d 179 (2000).

Repair costs less than five percent of retail price. - When the dealer's undisputed actual repair costs were less than five percent of the manufacturer's suggested retail price of the car, the dealer was not required to disclose the damage to plaintiff prior to the sale and O.C.G.A. § 40-1-5(f) applied to bar relief to plaintiff. Nall v. Bill Heard Chevrolet Co., 238 Ga. App. 365 , 518 S.E.2d 164 (1999).

Repair costs more than five percent of retail price. - Because the undisputed facts showed that repairs to the car which were performed before the sale totaled more than five percent of the original manufacturer's suggested retail price and that the dealer's salesperson said that there had been no problems with the car, grant of summary judgment on the plaintiff's Fair Business Practices Act, O.C.G.A. § 10-1-390 et seq., claim was proper. Neal Pope, Inc. v. Garlington, 245 Ga. App. 49 , 537 S.E.2d 179 (2000).

40-1-6. Uniforms of law enforcement officers.

Uniformed law enforcement officers of an agency who are assigned routinely or primarily to traffic law enforcement or other traffic safety duties on the roadways or highways of this state shall wear the same type uniform as other members of the assigned division of such officers' respective agencies. Officers assigned to special operations activities may wear other identifiable uniforms or other clothing appropriate to an operation upon approval of the sheriff, chief of police, or other agency head. An otherwise lawful arrest shall not be invalidated or in any manner affected by failure to comply with this Code section.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-6 , enacted by Ga. L. 2000, p. 1313, § 1.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

C.J.S. - 61A C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 1519.

40-1-7. Blue light required for officers enforcing traffic; exception.

Whenever pursuing a person in violation of a traffic related offense, a uniformed law enforcement officer who is assigned routinely or primarily to traffic law enforcement or other traffic safety duties on the roadways or highways of this state must place a visible blue light on the roof of his or her vehicle if such vehicle is not equipped with permanent exterior mounted roof blue lights; provided, however, that the provisions of this Code section shall not apply to law enforcement officers operating vehicles manufactured prior to 2001. This Code section shall not apply to any officer assigned to special operations activities or responding to an immediate threat to public safety as a result of an accident or other emergency. This Code section shall not apply to vehicles of the Georgia State Patrol or of a sheriff's office or police department which office or police department provides law enforcement services by certified peace officers 24 hours a day, seven days a week where the vehicles are marked in accordance with Code Section 40-8-91, with flashing or revolving colored lights visible under normal atmospheric conditions for a distance of 500 feet from the front and rear of such vehicle, and which also has an illuminating agency identifier reasonably visible to a driver of a vehicle subject to a traffic stop; provided, however, that the Georgia State Patrol shall not be permitted to have more than two vehicles per post without such exterior mounted roof lights; and provided, further, that a sheriff's office or police department shall not be permitted to have more than one vehicle per agency without such exterior mounted roof lights. An otherwise lawful arrest shall not be invalidated or in any manner affected by failure to comply with this Code section.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-7 , enacted by Ga. L. 2000, p. 1313, § 1; Ga. L. 2006, p. 231, § 1/SB 64; Ga. L. 2007, p. 47, § 40/SB 103.)

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Flashing and Revolving Lights on Motor Vehicles, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Public Safety, Chapter 570-11.

40-1-8. Safe operations of motor carriers, commercial motor vehicles, and drivers; safe transportation of hazardous materials; penalties.

  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of public safety.
    2. "Department" means the Department of Public Safety.
    3. "Present regulations" means the regulations promulgated under 49 C.F.R. in force and effect on January 1, 2020.
  2. The commissioner shall have the authority to promulgate rules and regulations for the safe operation of motor carriers, the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles and drivers, and the safe transportation of hazardous materials. Any such rules and regulations promulgated or deemed necessary by the commissioner shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Every commercial motor vehicle and all parts thereof shall be maintained in a safe condition at all times; and the lights, brakes, equipment, and all other parts or accessories shall meet such safety requirements designated by present regulations under Parts 393 and 396;
    2. Every driver employed to operate a motor vehicle for a motor carrier shall:
      1. Be at least 18 years of age to operate a motor vehicle for a motor carrier intrastate and at least 21 years of age to operate a motor vehicle for a motor carrier interstate;
      2. Meet the qualification requirements the commissioner shall from time to time promulgate;
      3. Be of temperate habits and good moral character;
      4. Possess a valid driver's license;
      5. Not use or possess prohibited drugs or alcohol while on duty; and
      6. Be fully competent and sufficiently rested to operate the motor vehicle under his or her charge;
    3. Accidents arising from or in connection with the operation of commercial motor vehicles shall be reported to the commissioner of transportation in such detail and in such manner as the commissioner of transportation may require;
    4. The commissioner shall require each commercial motor vehicle to have attached such distinctive markings as shall be adopted by the commissioner. Such identification requirements shall comply with the applicable provisions of the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005; and
    5. The commissioner shall provide distinctive rules for the transportation of unmanufactured forest products in intrastate commerce to be designated the "Georgia Forest Products Trucking Rules."
    1. Regulations governing the safe operations of motor carriers, commercial motor vehicles and drivers, and the safe transportation of hazardous materials may be adopted by administrative order, including, but not limited to, by referencing compatible federal regulations or standards without compliance with the procedural requirements of Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act," provided that such federal regulations or standards shall be maintained on file by the department and made available for inspection and copying by the public, by means including, but not limited to, posting on the department's Internet site. The commissioner may comply with the filing requirements of Chapter 13 of Title 50 by filing with the office of the Secretary of State the name and designation of such rules, regulations, standards, and orders. The courts shall take judicial notice of rules, regulations, standards, or orders so adopted or published.
    2. Rules, regulations, or orders previously adopted, issued, or promulgated pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 7 or 11 of Title 46 in effect on June 30, 2011, shall remain in full force and effect until such time as the commissioner of public safety adopts, issues, or promulgates new rules, regulations, or orders pursuant to the provisions of this Code section.
    1. The commissioner may, pursuant to rule or regulation, specify and impose civil monetary penalties for violations of laws, rules, and regulations relating to driver and motor carrier safety and transportation of hazardous materials. Except as may be hereafter authorized by law, the maximum amount of any such monetary penalty shall not exceed the maximum penalty authorized by law or rule or regulation for the same violation immediately prior to July 1, 2005.
    2. A cause of action for the collection of a penalty imposed pursuant to this subsection may be brought in the superior court of the county where the principal place of business of the penalized company is located or in the superior court of the county where the action giving rise to the penalty occurred.
  3. The commissioner is authorized to adopt such rules and orders as he or she may deem necessary in the enforcement of this Code section. Such rules and orders shall have the same dignity and standing as if such rules and orders were specifically provided in this Code section. The commissioner is authorized to establish such exceptions or exemptions from the requirements of this Code section, as he or she shall deem appropriate, consistent with any federal program requirements, and consistent with the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.
    1. The commissioner may designate members of the department, pursuant to Article 5 of Chapter 2 of Title 35, to perform regulatory compliance inspections. Members of county, municipal, campus, and other state agencies may be designated by the commissioner to perform regulatory compliance inspections only of vehicles, drivers, and cargo in operation, and may only enforce the provisions of rules and regulations promulgated under this Code section or Article 2 of this chapter subject to the provisions of a valid agreement between the commissioner and the county, municipal, campus, or other state agency.
    2. Unless designated and authorized by the commissioner, no members of county, municipal, campus, and other state agencies may perform regulatory compliance inspections.
  4. No person shall drive or operate, or cause the operation of, a vehicle in violation of an out-of-service order. As used in this subsection, the term "out-of-service order" means a temporary prohibition against operating as a motor carrier or driving or moving a vehicle, freight container or any cargo thereon, or any package containing a hazardous material.
  5. Unless otherwise provided by law, a motor carrier or operator of a commercial motor vehicle shall comply with present regulations as follows:
    1. Motor carrier safety standards found in 49 C.F.R. Part 391;
    2. Motor carrier safety standards found in 49 C.F.R. Part 392, including but not limited to the seatbelt usage requirements in 49 C.F.R. Section 392.16; and
    3. Hours of service and record of duty status requirements of 49 C.F.R. Part 395.
  6. A person failing to comply with the requirements of paragraph (2) of subsection (h) of this Code section shall be guilty of the misdemeanor offense of failure to wear a seat safety belt while operating a commercial motor vehicle and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $50.00 but shall not be subject to imprisonment. The costs of such prosecution shall not be taxed nor shall any additional penalty, fee, or surcharge to a fine for such offense be assessed against a person for conviction thereof. No points shall be added pursuant to Code Section 40-5-57 and no additional fines or penalties shall be imposed.
  7. Every officer, agent, or employee of any corporation and every person who violates or fails to comply with this Code section or any order, rule, or regulation adopted pursuant to this Code section, or who procures, aids, or abets a violation of this Code section or such rule or regulation, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor violations of this Code section may be prosecuted, handled, and disposed of in the manner provided for by Chapter 13 of this title. (Code 1981, § 40-1-8 , enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 479, § 9/HB 112; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 1/HB 323; Ga. L. 2014, p. 807, § 2/HB 753; Ga. L. 2015, p. 60, § 4-2/SB 100; Ga. L. 2016, p. 374, § 1/HB 747; Ga. L. 2017, p. 141, § 1/HB 58; Ga. L. 2018, p. 206, § 1/HB 714; Ga. L. 2019, p. 865, § 1/HB 225; Ga. L. 2020, p. 19, § 2/HB 861.)

The 2016 amendment, effective July 1, 2016, substituted "2016" for "2015" in paragraph (a)(3).

The 2017 amendment, effective July 1, 2017, substituted "2017" for "2016" in paragraph (a)(3).

The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2018, substituted "2018" for "2017" in paragraph (a)(3).

The 2019 amendment, effective July 1, 2019, substituted "2019" for "2018" in paragraph (a)(3).

The 2020 amendment, effective June 29, 2020, substituted "January 1, 2020" for "January 1, 2019" in paragraph (a)(3).

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

Ga. L. 2015, p. 60, § 6-1/SB 100, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Section 4-9 of Part IV of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2016, and all other parts of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2015, and shall apply to offenses which occur on or after that date."

Ga. L. 2020, p. 19, HB 861, contains two sections numbered as "2". The language in the second Section 2 of the Act provided an effective date for the Act.

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Rules of General Applicability, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Public Safety, Chapter 570-1.

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting not required. - Offenses arising from a violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-8 do not, at this time, appear to be offenses for which fingerprinting is required. 2011 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 11-5.

40-1-9. Analysis on elimination of revalidation decal requirement for motor vehicle registration.

Repealed by Ga. L. 2017, p. 742, § 1/HB 412, effective January 1, 2020.

Editor's notes. - This Code section was based on Ga. L. 2017, p. 742, § 1/HB 412.

ARTICLE 2 TRANSPORTATION OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Editor's notes. - This article is comparable to former O.C.G.A. T. 46, C. 11, which was repealed by Ga. L. 2011, p. 479, § 25.

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Motor Carrier Safety Rules, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Georgia Public Service Commission, Transportation, Subject 515-16-4.

40-1-20. Short title.

This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Transportation of Hazardous Materials Act."

(Code 1981, § 40-1-20 , enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 479, § 10/HB 112.)

40-1-21. Safe transportation of hazardous materials within state.

The General Assembly finds that the transportation of hazardous materials on the public roads of this state presents a unique and potentially catastrophic hazard to the public health, safety, and welfare of the people of Georgia and that the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare and the secure transportation of hazardous materials requires control and close regulation of such transportation to minimize that hazard and to that end this article is enacted. This is a remedial law and shall be liberally construed. The Department of Public Safety is designated as the agency to implement and enforce this article.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-21 , enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 479, § 10/HB 112.)

40-1-22. Definitions.

As used in this article, the term:

  1. "Anhydrous ammonia" means the materials identified as "ammonia, anhydrous," or "ammonia solutions with more than 50 percent ammonia and relative density less than 0.880 at 15 degrees Centigrade in water," in federal hazardous materials regulations contained in Title 49 C.F.R.
  2. "C.F.R." means the United States Code of Federal Regulations, as it may be amended from time to time in the Federal Register.
  3. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of public safety.
  4. "Department" means the Department of Public Safety.
  5. "Liquefied natural gas" or "LNG" means methane or natural gas in the form of a cryogenic or refrigerated liquid, as identified in federal hazardous materials regulations contained in Title 49 C.F.R.
  6. "Permit" means an instrument of whatever character or nature including, but not limited to, electronic format, issued by the department pursuant to this article.
  7. "Person," in addition to the meaning provided in paragraph (43) of Code Section 40-1-1, means and includes any individual, corporation, partnership, association, state, municipality, political subdivision of a state, and any agency or instrumentality of the United States government, or any other entity and includes any officer, agent, or employee of any of the above, who offers, ships, or carries a hazardous material in the furtherance of a commercial or business enterprise, whether or not such transportation is for-hire, or who manufactures, fabricates, marks, maintains, reconditions, repairs, or tests packages designed, used, or intended for the transportation of hazardous materials.
  8. "Polychlorinated biphenyl" or "PCB" has the same meaning as the material identified in federal hazardous materials regulations contained in Title 49 C.F.R.
  9. "Radioactive material" has the same meaning as the term is used in federal hazardous materials regulations contained in Title 49 C.F.R.
  10. "Regulatory compliance inspection" means the examination of facilities, property, buildings, vehicles, equipment, drivers, employees, cargo, packaging, records, books, or supporting documentation kept or required to be kept in the normal course of offering or transporting hazardous materials, or in the normal course of manufacturing, fabricating, marking, maintaining, reconditioning, repairing, or testing packages designed, used, or intended for the transportation of hazardous materials.
  11. "Shipper" means any person who arranges for, provides for, solicits a carrier for, consigns to a carrier for, or contracts with a carrier for shipment or transport of goods, property, or persons. The terms "shipper" and "offeror" are synonymous. (Code 1981, § 40-1-22 , enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 479, § 10/HB 112.)

40-1-23. Regulatory compliance inspections; notification; contacts with state; permit required for transporting materials; escorts or inspections; exceptions; recovery for damage or discharge; civil monetary penalties; routing agencies; adoption of regulations.

  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any person transporting, shipping, or offering for transportation hazardous material on the public roads of this state shall be subject to the requirements of this article. Persons who ship, offer, transport, or store incidental to transportation hazardous materials, or who manufacture, fabricate, mark, maintain, recondition, repair, or test packages used or intended for the transportation of hazardous materials, shall be deemed to have given consent to regulatory compliance inspections.
  2. No person, including the state or any agency thereof, shall transport hazardous material in, to, or through this state on the public roads of this state, whether or not the hazardous material is for delivery in this state and whether or not the transportation originated in this state; nor shall any person deliver in this state any hazardous material to any person for transportation; nor shall any such person accept any hazardous material for transportation in this state without compliance with the following requirements: such materials shall be packaged, marked, labeled, handled, loaded, unloaded, stored, detained, transported, placarded, certified, secured, and monitored in compliance with rules and regulations promulgated by the commissioner pursuant to this article and consistent with federal law. Compliance with such rules and regulations shall be in addition to and supplemental of other regulations of the United States Department of Energy, United States Department of Transportation, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and state fire marshal, applicable to such persons.
    1. The commissioner shall promulgate rules and regulations such that no person shall arrange for the transportation of or cause to be transported in, to, or through this state on the public roads of this state any hazardous material unless such person shall notify the commissioner or his or her designee in accordance with such rules and regulations; provided, however, that such notification requirements shall comply with applicable federal hazardous materials transportation law.
    2. Prior to the transport of spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste, as those terms are defined in 42 U.S.C. Chapter 108 as amended by the Federal Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, the shipper shall notify the commissioner or his or her designee in the manner required by Title 10 C.F.R. Part 71 or Part 73.
  3. Knowledge by a shipper that a carrier proposes to transport hazardous material in or through this state on the public roads of this state shall be sufficient contact with this state to subject such shipper to the jurisdiction of the commissioner and the courts of this state with respect to such transport.
    1. No transportation of hazardous material shall take place in or through this state until the commissioner or his or her designee issues a permit authorizing the applicant to operate or move upon the state's public roads a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles which carry hazardous materials. The commissioner or his or her designee may require changes in the proposed dates, times, routes, detention, holding, or storage of such materials during transport as necessary to maximize protection of the public health, safety, welfare, or the environment. The commissioner is authorized to promulgate reasonable rules and regulations which are necessary or desirable in governing the issuance of permits, provided that such rules and regulations are not in conflict with other provisions of law.
    2. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, pursuant to uniform permitting provisions of Federal Hazardous Materials Law, 49 U.S.C. Section 5119, the commissioner is authorized to adopt rules and regulations to bring state regulations into compliance with said federal law.
  4. Every such permit and all other documentation required by the commissioner shall be carried in the vehicles or combination of vehicles to which it refers and shall be open to inspection by any law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency responder, or employee of the department who has been given enforcement authority by the commissioner.
  5. For just cause, including, but not limited to, repeated and consistent past violations, the commissioner may refuse to issue or may cancel, suspend, or revoke the permit of an applicant or permittee.
    1. The commissioner or the official designated by the commissioner, pursuant to this Code section and the rules and regulations developed by the commissioner, may issue annual permits which shall allow vehicles transporting hazardous materials to be operated on the public roads of this state for 12 months from the date such permit is issued.
    2. The commissioner or the official designated by the commissioner, pursuant to this Code section and the rules and regulations developed by the commissioner, may issue a single-trip permit to any vehicle.
    3. Pursuant to this article, the commissioner may charge a fee for the issuance of such permits and may develop and adopt an apportionment schedule for fees to be established by rules and regulations promulgated by the commissioner. The fee for the issuance of an annual trip permit shall be not more than $100.00.
  6. The commissioner may arrange for escorts or inspections which comply with Code Section 35-2-101.
  7. For purposes of this article, the commissioner is expressly authorized to contract with any other state or local agency or department to perform any activities necessary to implement this article. Enforcement of this article and any rules, regulations, or orders promulgated, adopted, or issued hereunder shall be the sole province of the department and those entities the commissioner authorizes in writing, except for provisions relating to anhydrous ammonia.
    1. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, the commissioner is authorized to establish such exceptions or exemptions from the requirements of this article, or any provision hereof, for such kinds, quantities, types, or shipments of hazardous materials as he or she shall deem appropriate, consistent with the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.
    2. Specifically, but without limitation, the commissioner shall continue in force the agricultural exceptions in 49 C.F.R. Section 173.5, and the tank exceptions in 49 C.F.R. Section 173.8, as originally adopted in Public Service Commission Appendix "A" File MCA1-3, Docket No. 16632-M, effective June 1, 1998.
  8. This article shall not apply to the transportation, delivery, or acceptance for delivery of radioactive materials inside the confines of a single contiguous authorized location of use of any person authorized to use, possess, transport, deliver, or store radioactive materials by the Department of Natural Resources pursuant to Chapter 13 of Title 31 or by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission; nor shall this article apply to the transportation, delivery, or acceptance for transportation of radioactive materials under the direction or supervision of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, United States Department of Energy, United States Department of Defense, or other federal agency authorized to possess or transport such material where such transportation, delivery, or acceptance for transportation is escorted by personnel designated by or under the authority of those agencies.
  9. This article shall not apply to interstate pipeline facilities which are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Transportation under the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968.
    1. In the event of any damage to state property or any discharge of hazardous materials from the authorized shipping package or container or any threat of such discharge which results from the transportation, storage, holding, detention, delivery for transportation, or acceptance for transportation of hazardous materials in this state, the state may recover from any shipper, carrier, bailor, bailee, or any other person responsible for such storage, transportation, holding, detention, delivery, or acceptance all costs incurred by the state in the reparation of the damage and all costs incurred in the prevention, abatement, or removal of any such discharge or threatened discharge, including reasonable attorney's fees incurred with respect to recovery.
    2. The commissioner is expressly authorized to charge reasonable fees for time, equipment, materials, and supplies used or incurred by the department in the implementation of this article.
    3. The commissioner may issue civil penalties against any person found in violation of this article or any regulations promulgated or adopted for the safe and secure transportation of hazardous materials. Such penalties shall not exceed the limits established by 49 U.S.C. Chapter 51.
  10. Any person, firm, or corporation transporting methamphetamine, amphetamine, any mixture containing either methamphetamine or amphetamine, anhydrous ammonia, or any mixture containing anhydrous ammonia, shall be subject to all rules and regulations promulgated by the commissioner pursuant to this article governing the safe operation of motor vehicles and drivers and the safe transportation of hazardous materials.
  11. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Code section, the commissioner may impose civil monetary penalties in an amount not to exceed the maximum amounts for penalties established by 49 U.S.C. Chapter 51 for each violation of any rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this article with respect to persons transporting methamphetamine, amphetamine, any mixture containing either methamphetamine or amphetamine, anhydrous ammonia, or any mixture containing anhydrous ammonia.
  12. The department is designated as the routing agency as defined in Title 49 C.F.R. Part 397, Subpart E. Routing determinations for hazardous materials shall be made in accordance with the provisions of Federal Hazardous Materials Law, 49 U.S.C. Section 5112. The commissioner or his or her designee shall consult with Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, Georgia Department of Homeland Security, or other agencies as necessary to carry out these responsibilities.
  13. Drivers who transport hazardous materials shall be trained at least to the minimum standards required by federal law. Upon request by the commissioner, proof of such federally required driver training shall be made available to the commissioner or his or her staff.
  14. For the transportation of spent nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive waste, and other hazardous materials, the commissioner may take action to ensure that motor vehicles, drivers, and packages used in such transportation have been inspected to show compliance with the federal motor carrier safety regulations and federal hazardous materials regulations, and compatible state regulations adopted pursuant to this article.
  15. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, a bond or indemnity insurance required of carriers shall be established by rules and regulations of the commissioner and shall for all persons subject to this article, whether intrastate or interstate carriers, be at least in the maximum amount or amounts authorized or required by federal law or regulations.
  16. No person shall transport or cause the transportation of hazardous materials in violation of an out-of-service order.
  17. In addition to any other liability imposed by law, any person who violates or fails to comply with any provision of this article, or any rule, regulation, or order promulgated, adopted, or issued hereunder, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor violations of this article may be prosecuted, handled, and disposed of in the manner provided for by Chapter 13 of this title.
    1. The commissioner is authorized and empowered to adopt, promulgate, amend, repeal, or modify such standards, rules, and regulations and to issue such orders, authorizations, or amendments or modifications thereof as are necessary to implement this article. Any standards, rules, or regulations adopted pursuant to this article, if consistent with the applicable laws relating to adoption of such standards, rules, or regulations, shall have the force and effect of law. Any such rules and regulations shall be compatible with federal motor carrier safety regulations and federal hazardous materials regulations in Title 49 C.F.R.
    2. Regulations governing the safe operations of motor carriers, commercial motor vehicles, and drivers and the safe and secure transportation of hazardous materials may be adopted by administrative order, including, but not limited to, referencing compatible federal regulations or standards without compliance with the procedural requirements of Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act," provided that such compatible federal regulations or standards shall be maintained on file by the department and made available for inspection and copying by the public, by means including, but not limited to, posting on the department's Internet site. The commissioner of public safety may comply with the filing requirements of Chapter 13 of Title 50 by filing with the office of the Secretary of State merely the name and designation of such rules, regulations, standards, and orders. The courts shall take judicial notice of rules, regulations, standards, or orders so adopted or published.
    3. Rules, regulations, or orders previously adopted, issued, or promulgated pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 7 or 11 of Title 46 in effect on June 30, 2011, shall remain in full force and effect until such time as the commissioner adopts, issues, or promulgates new rules, regulations, or orders pursuant to the provisions of this article.
    4. The department shall, to the extent practicable, engage in education, outreach, and customer service activities to reach persons and entities affected by these regulations and to assist the competitiveness of Georgia citizens and businesses engaged in regulated activities. (Code 1981, § 40-1-23 , enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 479, § 10/HB 112; Ga. L. 2016, p. 91, § 18/SB 416; Ga. L. 2017, p. 774, § 40/HB 323.)

The 2016 amendment, effective July 1, 2016, inserted "and Homeland Security" in the middle of the second sentence of subsection (q).

The 2017 amendment, effective May 9, 2017, part of an Act to revise, modernize, and correct the Code, deleted "35-2-56 [repealed] or" following "Code Section" in subsection (i).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting required. - Offenses arising from a violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-23 are offenses for which fingerprinting is required. 2011 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 11-5.

40-1-24. Enforcement; use of funds; regulatory compliance inspections by others; examination of facilities.

  1. The commissioner is authorized to employ such persons as may be necessary, in the discretion of the commissioner, for the proper enforcement of this article, as provided for in this article and Chapter 2 of Title 35. It is the intent of the General Assembly, subject to the appropriations process, that funds derived under this article shall be used to further the Department of Public Safety's hazardous materials transportation safety programs; provided, however, that the department shall retain those funds derived specifically for inspection or escort.
  2. The commissioner is vested with police powers and authority to designate, deputize, and delegate to employees of the commissioner the necessary authority to enforce this article, including the power to stop and inspect all motor vehicles using the public highways and to enter upon and inspect shipper and carrier facilities for purposes of determining whether such vehicles and facilities have complied with and are complying with the provisions of this article and all other laws regulating the use of the public highways by motor vehicles, and to arrest all persons found in violation thereof, and to issue out-of-service orders to carriers, vehicles, and drivers in accordance with criteria which shall be established or adopted by the commissioner.
  3. As designated by the commissioner, by way of agreement, members of county, municipal, campus, and other state agencies may only perform regulatory compliance inspections of vehicles, drivers, and cargo in operation, and enforce the provisions of this article and rules and regulations promulgated hereunder subject to the terms and conditions of that agreement.
  4. The commissioner is vested with powers to designate, deputize, and delegate to employees of the department the necessary authority to enter upon and examine the facilities where hazardous materials are filled, offered, shipped, or stored incidental to transportation, or where packages are manufactured, fabricated, marked, maintained, reconditioned, repaired, or tested for purposes of regulatory compliance inspections for determining compliance with this article and other laws the administration or enforcement of which is the responsibility of the department. (Code 1981, § 40-1-24 , enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 479, § 10/HB 112.)

40-1-25. Severability.

In the event that any section, paragraph, or other part of this article, or any requirement thereunder, or any rule, regulation, or order of the commissioner promulgated hereunder, is found to be preempted by federal law, or otherwise found to be improper, null or otherwise void, all other requirements not so preempted or otherwise so found shall remain in full force and effect.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-25 , enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 479, § 10/HB 112.)

ARTICLE 3 MOTOR CARRIERS

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - General Provisions, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Georgia Public Service Commission, Transportation, Subject 515-16-5.

Law reviews. - For annual survey on commercial transportation, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 41 (2017).

PART 1 G EORGIA MOTOR CARRIER ACT OF 2012

40-1-50. Short title.

This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Georgia Motor Carrier Act of 2012."

(Code 1981, § 40-1-50 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

Cross references. - Standard of care to be observed by common carriers generally, § 46-9-1 .

Creation of Railway Passenger Service Corridor System, T. 46, C. 8A.

Road tax on motor carriers, § 48-9-30 et seq.

Law reviews. - For annual survey on commercial transportation, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 41 (2017).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting not required. - Misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-50 are offenses for which those charged are not to be fingerprinted. 2012 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 12-6.

40-1-51. Legislative findings; construction.

The General Assembly finds that the for-hire transportation of persons and property are a privilege that require close regulation and control to protect public welfare, provide for a competitive business environment, and provide for consumer protection. To that end, the provisions of this article are enacted. This is a remedial law and shall be liberally construed. The Department of Public Safety is designated as the agency to implement and enforce this article. Exceptions contained in this article shall have no effect on the applicability of any other provision of law applicable to motor vehicles, commercial motor vehicles, operators of motor vehicles, or carrier operations.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-51 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting not required. - Misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-51 are offenses for which those charged are not to be fingerprinted. 2012 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 12-6.

40-1-52. Establishment of Motor Carrier Compliance Division.

There is created and established a division within the Department of Public Safety to be known as the Motor Carrier Compliance Division which shall include a section designated the Regulatory Compliance Section. Except as provided in Chapter 2 of Title 35, the members of the Motor Carrier Compliance Division shall be known and designated as law enforcement officers. The Regulatory Compliance Section shall be responsible for the regulation of the operation of motor carriers and limousine carriers in accordance with this article, Code Section 40-1-8, and Article 2 of this chapter.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-52 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 2/HB 323.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting not required. - Misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-52 are offenses for which those charged are not to be fingerprinted. 2012 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 12-6.

40-1-53. "Department" defined; methods of enforcement.

  1. As used in this article, the term "department" means the Department of Public Safety.
  2. The department is authorized to enforce this article by instituting actions for injunction, mandamus, or other appropriate relief. (Code 1981, § 40-1-53 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 3/HB 323.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's note. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under Ga. L. 1931, p. 199, § 29, former Code 1933, § 68-632, and former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-31 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

The 1931 law was regulatory in nature, and all persons proposing to conduct the business of a motor carrier as defined thereby must submit themselves to the jurisdiction and control of the commission. McKinney v. Patton, 176 Ga. 719 , 169 S.E. 16 (1933) (decided under Ga. L. 1931, p. 199, § 29).

Meaning of language "or any individual." - Words "or any individual" mean any other person having an interest in the subject matter, such as any individual who competed with the common carrier, and would not authorize the grant of an injunction at the instance of individuals whose only interest was as citizens and taxpayers. Gulledge v. Augusta Coach Co., 210 Ga. 377 , 80 S.E.2d 274 (1954) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-632).

"Required certificate" necessary. - Mere fact that a carrier was a certificate holder would afford the carrier no protection. The question was did the carrier have the required certificate that was one under the terms of which the carrier's particular operation was authorized. Bass v. Georgia Public-Service Comm'n, 192 Ga. 106 , 14 S.E.2d 740 (1941) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-632).

Cited in McKinney v. Patton, 176 Ga. 719 , 169 S.E. 16 (1933); Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n v. Jones Transp., Inc., 213 Ga. 514 , 100 S.E.2d 183 (1957).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting not required. - Misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-53 are offenses for which those charged are not to be fingerprinted. 2012 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 12-6.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, §§ 33, 125, 146.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 262, 264, 265.

40-1-54. Rules and regulations for implementation and administration.

  1. The department shall promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary to effectuate and administer the provisions of this article pursuant to Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act."
  2. The commissioner is authorized to issue such orders, authorizations, and modification thereof as necessary to implement this article.
  3. A court shall take judicial notice of all rules and regulations promulgated by the department pursuant to this Code section. (Code 1981, § 40-1-54 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting not required. - Misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-54 are offenses for which those charged are not to be fingerprinted. 2012 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 12-6.

40-1-55. Penalty for violations.

Every officer, agent, or employee of any corporation and every person who violates or fails to comply with this article relating to the regulation of motor carriers and limousine carriers or any order, rule, or regulation of the Department of Public Safety, or who procures, aids, or abets therein, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor violations of this article may be prosecuted, handled, and disposed of in the manner provided for by Chapter 13 of this title.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-55 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Editor's note. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-39 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Fingerprinting not required. - Offense arising from a violation of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-39 did not, at this time, appear to be an offense for which fingerprinting was required; thus, this offense was not designated as one for which those charged were to be fingerprinted. 2010 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 2010-2.(decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-39).

Misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-55 are offenses for which those charged are not to be fingerprinted. 2012 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 12-6.

40-1-56. Financial penalty for violations; suspension of certificate or permit; notice; review.

  1. Any motor carrier or limousine carrier subject to the provisions of Part 2 or Part 3 of this article that fails to register as a motor carrier or limousine carrier with the department or that is subject to the jurisdiction of the department and willfully violates any law administered by the department or any duly promulgated regulation issued thereunder, or that fails, neglects, or refuses to comply with any order after notice thereof, shall be liable for a penalty not to exceed $15,000.00 for such violation and an additional penalty not to exceed $10,000.00 for each day during which such violation continues.
  2. Following a reasonable attempt to notify a holder of a certificate, the commissioner is authorized to immediately suspend a motor carrier or limousine carrier certificate or permit if the commissioner finds that such suspension is necessary to protect against an immediate threat to the life, health, or safety of others. An emergency suspension made pursuant to this subsection may be appealed by filing a request for administrative review with the department within 30 days of receipt of notice of the department's decision. An administrative hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures for contested cases under Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act."
  3. Notice of a violation and the assessed amount shall be made by means of personal service upon the violator. The notice shall include a warning that a vehicle related to the violation may be subject to suspension of the registration pursuant to Code Section 40-1-56.1. The respondent shall then have 60 days in which to pay the assessed penalty or file with the department a written request for an administrative review. The request for an administrative review shall specify whether the respondent is challenging the validity of the imposition of the penalty or the amount of the assessment, or both. An administrative hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures for contested cases under Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act."
    1. All penalties and interest thereon, at the rate of 10 percent per annum, recovered by the department shall be paid into the general fund of the state treasury.
    2. Reissuance fees charged by the Department of Revenue shall be retained by the Department of Revenue.
    3. Restoration fees charged by the department shall be retained by the department.
    1. Any party who has exhausted all administrative remedies available before the department and who is aggrieved by a final decision of the department made pursuant to this Code section may seek judicial review of the final order of the department in the Superior Court of Fulton County or in the superior court of the county in which the principal place of business of the aggrieved party is located.
    2. Proceedings for review shall be instituted by filing a petition within 30 days after the service of the final decision of the department or, if a rehearing is requested, within 30 days after the decision thereon. A motion for rehearing or reconsideration after a final decision by the department shall not be a prerequisite to the filing of a petition for review. Copies of the petition shall be served upon the department and all parties of record before the department.
    3. The petition shall state the nature of the petitioner's interest, the facts showing that the petitioner is aggrieved by the decision, and the ground upon which the petitioner contends the decision should be reversed. The petition may be amended by leave of court.
    4. Within 30 days after service of the petition or within such further time as is stipulated by the parties or as is allowed by the court, the agency shall have transmitted to the reviewing court the original or a certified copy of the entire record of the proceedings under review. By stipulation of all parties to the review proceedings, the record may be shortened. A party unreasonably refusing to stipulate that the record be limited may be taxed for the additional costs. The court may require or permit subsequent corrections or additions to the record.
    5. The review shall be conducted by the court without a jury and shall be confined to the record. The court shall not substitute its judgment for that of the department as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact. The court may affirm the decision of the department or remand the case for further proceedings. The court may reverse the decision of the department if substantial rights of the petitioner have been prejudiced because the department's findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:
      1. In violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;
      2. In excess of the statutory authority of the department;
      3. Made upon unlawful procedure;
      4. Clearly not supported by any reliable, probative, and substantial evidence on the record as a whole; or
      5. Arbitrary or capricious.
    6. A party aggrieved by an order of the court may appeal to the Supreme Court or to the Court of Appeals in accordance with Article 2 of Chapter 6 of Title 5, the "Appellate Practice Act." (Code 1981, § 40-1-56 , enacted by Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 4/HB 323.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 4/HB 323 repealed former Code Section 40-1-56, pertaining to a penalty for a failure to register, administrative procedures, and judicial review, effective July 1, 2013, and enacted the present Code section. The former Code section was based on Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Penalties, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Public Safety, Non-Consenual Towing, § 570-36-.12.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 68-621 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

No provision for unconditional review. - There was no provision in former Code 1933, § 68-621 for unconditional review, but it was to be under the conditions and subject to the limitations as now prescribed by law as related to the commission. Southeastern Greyhound Lines v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 181 Ga. 75 , 181 S.E. 834 , answer conformed to, 52 Ga. App. 35 , 182 S.E. 204 (1935) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-621).

No right to review order of commission by writ of certiorari. - When a certificate of public convenience and necessity has been granted by the commission to a motor common carrier and, thereafter such certificate is revoked and canceled by order of the commission, after hearing pursuant to a rule nisi, because of the carrier's failure to operate passenger bus service under said certificate, the motor common carrier has not the right to review such order or judgment of the commission by writ of certiorari from the superior court, as the act of the commission in the revocation of such certificate was not a judicial function, but was the exercise of administrative power, to which action the writ of certiorari does not lie. Southeastern Greyhound Lines v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 52 Ga. App. 35 , 182 S.E. 204 (1935) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-621).

No interference with order of commission unless showing of unreasonableness. - Neither the trial court, nor the Supreme Court on review, will substitute the court's own discretion and judgment for that of the commission when the commission exercised the commission's discretion in a matter over which the commission had jurisdiction, and neither court will interfere with a valid order of the commission unless it be clearly shown that the order was unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious. Woodside Transf. & Storage Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 212 Ga. 625 , 94 S.E.2d 706 (1956) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-621).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting not required. - Misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-56 are offenses for which those charged are not to be fingerprinted. 2012 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 12-6.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, §§ 140 et seq., 146.

C.J.S. - 13 C.J.S., Carriers, § 352. 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 125 et seq., 201, 223 et seq.

ALR. - Right to maintain action against carrier on ground that rates which were filed and published by carrier pursuant to law were excessive, 97 A.L.R. 406 .

40-1-56.1. Unpaid assessments; liens on identifiable vehicles; perfection; suspension of registration.

  1. Whenever any motor carrier or limousine carrier owes penalties to the department which were imposed for violations pursuant to Code Section 40-1-56 and the violation relates to an identifiable vehicle, then the motor carrier or limousine carrier shall have 60 days from the date of the assessed penalty or final judicial review following an appeal of the assessment. If the assessment is not paid within the 60 days, such assessment shall become a lien upon the identified motor vehicle found to be in violation, and the lien shall be superior to all liens except liens for taxes or perfected security interests established before the debt to the department was created.
  2. The department shall perfect the lien created under this Code section by sending notice thereof on a notice designated by the department, by first-class mail or by statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, to the owner and all holders of liens and security interests shown on the records of the Department of Revenue maintained pursuant to Chapter 3 of this title. Upon receipt of notice from the Department of Public Safety, the holder of the certificate of title shall surrender the same to the state revenue commissioner for issuance of a replacement certificate of title bearing the lien of the department unless the assessment is paid within 60 days of the receipt of notice. The Department of Revenue may append the lien to its records, notwithstanding the failure of the holder of the certificate of title to surrender such certificate as required by this subsection.
  3. Upon issuance of a title bearing the lien of the department, or the appending of the lien to the records of the Department of Revenue, the owner of the vehicle or the holder of any security interest or lien shown in the records of the Department of Revenue may satisfy such lien by payment of the amount of the assessment, including hearing costs, if any, and payment of an additional reissuance fee of $100.00 which shall be paid to the Department of Revenue. Upon receipt of such amount, the department shall release its lien and the Department of Revenue shall issue a new title without the lien.
    1. The department, in seeking to foreclose its lien on the motor vehicle arising out of an assessed violation pursuant to Code Section 40-1-56, may seek an immediate writ of possession from the court before whom the petition is filed, if the petition contains a statement of facts, under oath, by the department, its agents, its officers, or attorney setting forth the basis of the petitioner's claim and sufficient grounds for issuance of an immediate writ of possession.
    2. The department shall allege under oath specific facts sufficient to show that it is within the power of the defendant to conceal, encumber, convert, convey, or remove from the jurisdiction of the court the property which is the subject matter of the petition.
    3. The court before whom the petition is pending shall issue a writ for immediate possession upon finding that the petitioner has complied with paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection. If the petitioner is found not to have made sufficient showing to obtain an immediate writ of possession, the court may, nevertheless, treat the petition as one being filed under Code Section 44-14-231 and proceed accordingly.
    4. When an immediate writ of possession has been granted, the department shall proceed against the defendant in the same manner as provided for in Code Sections 44-14-265 through 44-14-269.
    1. Whenever any motor carrier or limousine carrier fails within 60 days of the date of issuance of a penalty involving an identifiable vehicle assessed pursuant to Code Section 40-1-56 either to pay the assessment or appeal to the department for an administrative review, the Department of Revenue may act to suspend the motor vehicle registration of the vehicle involved. However, if the motor carrier or limousine carrier requests an administrative review, the Department of Revenue shall act to suspend the registration only after the issuance of a final decision favorable to the department and the requisite failure of the motor carrier or limousine carrier to pay the assessment. Upon such failure to pay the assessment, the Department of Revenue shall send a letter to the owner of such motor vehicle notifying the owner of the suspension of the motor vehicle registration issued to the motor vehicle involved in violation which was the basis for the penalty. Upon complying with this subsection by paying the overdue assessment, submitting proof of compliance, and paying a $10.00 restoration fee to the Department of Revenue, the state revenue commissioner shall reinstate any motor vehicle registration suspended under this subsection. In cases where the motor vehicle registration has been suspended under this subsection for a second or subsequent time during any two-year period, the Department of Revenue shall suspend the motor vehicle registration for a period of 60 days and thereafter until the owner submits proof of compliance with this subsection and pays a $150.00 restoration fee to the Department of Revenue.
    2. Unless otherwise provided for in this Code section, notice of the effective date of the suspension of a motor vehicle registration occurs when the owner has actual knowledge or legal notice thereof, whichever first occurs. For the purposes of making any determination relating to the restoration of a suspended motor vehicle registration, no period of suspension shall be deemed to have begun until ten days after the mailing of the notice required in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
    3. For the purposes of this subsection, except where otherwise provided, the mailing of a notice to a motor carrier or limousine carrier at the name and address shown in records of the Department of Revenue maintained under Chapter 3 of this title shall, with respect to the holders of liens and security interests, be presumptive evidence that such motor carrier or limousine carrier received the required notice.
    4. For the purposes of this subsection, except where otherwise provided, the mailing of a notice to owners and operators of vehicles involved in a penalty assessed pursuant to 40-1-56 shall be presumptive evidence that such motor carrier or limousine carrier received the required notice.
    5. The state revenue commissioner may suspend the motor vehicle registration of any offending vehicle for which payment of an assessment is made by a check that is returned for any reason. (Code 1981, § 40-1-56.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 5/HB 323.)

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2013, a misspelling of "reissuance" was corrected in subsection (c).

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

40-1-57. Applicability of prior action of Public Service Commission.

Rules, orders, and regulations previously adopted which relate to functions performed by the Public Service Commission which were transferred under this article to the Department of Public Safety shall remain of full force and effect as rules, orders, and regulations of the Department of Public Safety until amended, repealed, or superseded by rules or regulations adopted by the department.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-57 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40/HB 79.)

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2012, a misspelling of "Public" was corrected.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, §§ 68-629 and 68-523, and former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-27 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Rule of the commission is not "law of the state" within the meaning of that term as used in the provisions of the Constitution giving exclusive jurisdiction on appeal to Supreme Court to pass on constitutionality of state law. Reliable Transf. Co. v. May, 70 Ga. App. 613 , 29 S.E.2d 187 (1944) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-629).

Commission acts in quasi-legislative manner. - As the commission was authorized to adopt such rules and orders as the commission may deem necessary in the enforcement of the provisions of the statutory law regarding motor common carriers, the commission, therefore, acts in a quasi-legislative manner. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n v. Smith Transf. Co., 207 Ga. 658 , 63 S.E.2d 653 (1951) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-629).

Commission rules have same force and effect as statute. - Rule passed by the commission in pursuance of the statutory law regarding motor common carriers had the force and effect of a law or statute of this state. Maner v. Dykes, 52 Ga. App. 715 , 184 S.E. 438 (1936), later appeal, 55 Ga. App. 436 , 190 S.E. 189 (1937) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-629).

Commission had authority and power to adopt such rules and regulations within the scope of the legislative enactment, and as an effective means of enforcing the statutory law respecting motor common carriers, and such rules and regulations have the same force and effect as that of a statute. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n v. Jones Transp., Inc., 213 Ga. 514 , 100 S.E.2d 183 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-629).

Delegation of regulatory power by General Assembly proper. - General Assembly could clearly designate the Public Service Commission to act for the legislature in seeing that public service motor vehicles conformed to the regulatory laws applicable to those vehicles, leaving to that body the working out of the minor details regarding such regulations. Maner v. Dykes, 55 Ga. App. 436 , 190 S.E. 189 (1937) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-629).

Commission not bound by strict rules of evidence in conducting hearings. - Commission was authorized by former Code 1933, § 68-523 to adopt rules of evidence and procedure in carrying out the Commission's duties in the administration of the law, and was not bound by strict rules of evidence in conducting the commission's hearings. Tamiami Trail Tours, Inc. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 213 Ga. 418 , 99 S.E.2d 225 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-523).

Effect of introduction of ex parte affidavits at hearing upon commission order. - Upon a hearing by the commission on an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity, the mere introduction before that body of ex parte affidavits does not invalidate the order of the commission. Tamiami Trail Tours, Inc. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 213 Ga. 418 , 99 S.E.2d 225 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-523).

Judicial notice required. - Courts are required to judicially notice rules and regulations promulgated or adopted by the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety under former O.C.G.A. §§ 46-7-26 and 46-7-27. State v. Ponce, 279 Ga. 651 , 619 S.E.2d 682 (2005) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-27).

Cited in Bass v. Georgia Public-Service Comm'n, 192 Ga. 106 , 14 S.E.2d 740 (1941); Reliance Ins. Co. v. Bridges, 168 Ga. App. 874 , 311 S.E.2d 193 (1983); Kinard v. National Indem. Co., 225 Ga. App. 176 , 483 S.E.2d 664 (1997).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting not required. - Misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-57 are offenses for which those charged are not to be fingerprinted. 2012 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 12-6.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, §§ 21 et seq., 27 et seq., 130, 140 et seq.

ALR. - State regulation of carriers by motor vehicle as affected by interstate commerce clause, 47 A.L.R. 230 ; 49 A.L.R. 1203 ; 62 A.L.R. 52 ; 85 A.L.R. 1136 ; 109 A.L.R. 1245 ; 135 A.L.R. 1358 .

40-1-58. Determining employment status based upon a motor carrier safety improvement.

  1. For purposes of this Code section, the term "motor carrier safety improvement" means any device, equipment, software, technology, procedure, training, policy, program, or operational practice intended and primarily used to improve or facilitate compliance with traffic safety or motor carrier safety laws, safety of a motor vehicle, safety of the operator of a motor vehicle, or safety of third-party users of highways of this state.
  2. The deployment, implementation, or use of a motor carrier safety improvement by or as required by a motor carrier or its related entity, including by contract, shall not be considered when evaluating an individual's status as an employee or independent contractor, or as a jointly employed employee, under any state law. (Code 1981, § 40-1-58 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 318, § 1/HB 758.)

Effective date. - This Code section became effective January 1, 2021.

PART 2 C ERTIFICATION OF MOTOR CARRIERS

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's note. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293, former Code 1933, §§ 68-504, 68-604, and 68-605 and former O.C.G.A. §§ 46-7-3 and 46-7-53, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Construction with other provisions. - Provisions of former Code 1933, § 68-504 were the same as provisions of former Code 1933, § 68-609 with respect to the enumerated five elements that the commission must consider. Therefore, the decisions of the Supreme Court dealing with former Code 1933, § 68-609 were directly applicable and controlling on the construction of former Code 1933, § 68-504. Both sections add to the five enumerated considerations the following: "among other things." This quoted provision cannot be ignored, and its proper recognition required a construction that the commission's judgment need not rest upon any or all of the five fields enumerated. J. & M. Transp. Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 217 Ga. 296 , 122 S.E.2d 227 (1961) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-504).

Public interest embraces more than five elements contained in subsection (f). - Both former Code 1933, § 68-504, which related to "motor contract carriers" and former Code 1933, § 68-609, which related to "motor common carriers" require the procurement of a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the commission after a hearing pursuant to findings by the commission to the effect that "the public interest requires such operation." The public interest, while embracing the five elements yet comprehends much more. J. & M. Transp. Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 217 Ga. 296 , 122 S.E.2d 227 (1961) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-504).

No right to be free from competition. - Former Code 1933, § 68-504 did not afford the right to be free from competition. Wells Fargo Armored Serv. Corp. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 547 F.2d 938 (5th Cir. 1977) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-504).

Publisher not liable for unknowingly using unlicensed distributor. - Since there is no duty on the part of a newspaper publisher to inquire and ascertain if a distributor is properly licensed by the Public Service Commission, a publisher cannot be held liable for the negligent driving of its distributor's delivery vehicle on the ground that the driver was not licensed. Tanner v. USA Today, 179 Ga. App. 722 , 347 S.E.2d 690 (1986) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-53).

Power to select, limit, and prohibit uses of highways by carriers for hire, which is implied in the requirement of a certificate of public convenience and necessity, is justified both as a regulation of the business, and as a regulation for the protection and safety of the highways. There is thereby no unequal protection of law, but a reasonable classification. Southern Motorways, Inc. v. Perry, 39 F.2d 145 (N.D. Ga. 1930) (decided under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293).

Doing business on highways is privilege which may be conditioned or withheld. - Motor carriers are engaged in a business that is regulatable, and doing that business on the highways by a privilege which may be conditioned or withheld. Southern Motorways, Inc. v. Perry, 39 F.2d 145 (N.D. Ga. 1930) (decided under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293).

Certificate and annual license fee are legally demandable by state. - Certificate of public convenience and necessity, with a reasonable fee therefor, and an annual license fee for the trucks are legally demandable by a state as a nondiscriminatory prerequisite of the use of the highway for carrier purposes, even though the commerce involved is wholly interstate. Johnson Transf. & Freight Lines v. Perry, 47 F.2d 900 (N.D. Ga. 1931) (decided under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293).

Authority of state to regulate use of roads. - State may license or refuse to license, may condition or charge for, the use of the state's improved roads, when the roads are turned from their common uses and purposes to the carrier's business. Johnson Transf. & Freight Lines v. Perry, 47 F.2d 900 (N.D. Ga. 1931) (decided under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293).

Interstate carrier to pay for use of highway. - Interstate carrier has no better right than any other to use the state's improved highway without the state's consent, or without paying for the use. Johnson Transf. & Freight Lines v. Perry, 47 F.2d 900 (N.D. Ga. 1931) (decided under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293).

Directory or advisory nature of statutory elements of proof of public convenience and necessity. - In determining whether the public interest required the service and whether the certificate should be granted, the commission was directed by statute to consider the five subjects set out in former Code 1933, § 68-609. While these provisions were only directory or advisory, and it was not mandatory that each be proved before the commission was authorized to grant a certificate, reviewing courts recognize that this was a pronouncement by the General Assembly of principles of law generally accepted as elements of proof of public convenience and necessity. Tamiami Trail Tours, Inc. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 213 Ga. 418 , 99 S.E.2d 225 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-604).

Notice of cancellation. - Former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-3 required motor carriers to obtain a certificate of public convenience which may not be issued until a surety bond or evidence of a policy of indemnity insurance is filed with the Public Service Commission (PSC). Under PSC Rule 1-8-1-.07, policies of insurance evidenced by a Form E certificate filed with the PSC remain in effect until cancelled as prescribed by that rule. The filing of a Form E certificate of insurance establishes that a specified policy of insurance has been issued to the motor carrier and that the policy continues in effect until canceled by giving notice to the PSC. Progressive Preferred Ins. Co. v. Ramirez, 277 Ga. 392 , 588 S.E.2d 751 (2003) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-3).

Insurer's failure to file a notice of cancellation with the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicle Safety (DMVS) did not render the insurer liable under the direct action statute, former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12, because the former insurer had never obtained a permit of authority under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-3 to operate as carrier in Georgia, the insurer could not have filed either a certificate of insurance or a notice of cancellation with the DMVS. Kolencik v. Stratford Ins. Co., F. Supp. 2d (N.D. Ga. Nov. 28, 2005) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-3).

Cited in Phillips v. International Agric. Corp., 54 Ga. App. 751 , 189 S.E. 54 (1936); Bass v. Georgia Public-Service Comm'n, 192 Ga. 106 , 14 S.E.2d 740 (1941); Gallahar v. George A. Rheman Co., 50 F. Supp. 655 (S.D. Ga. 1943); Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n v. Smith Transf. Co., 207 Ga. 658 , 63 S.E.2d 653 (1951); Coleman v. B-H Transfer Co., 284 Ga. 624 , 669 S.E.2d 141 (2008).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under former Code 1933, § 68-604, which was subsequently repealed but was succeeded by provisions in this Code section, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Exception to requirements of this section. - Temporary emergency authority granted under former Code 1933, § 68-611.1 was an exception to the general requirement of former Code 1933, § 68-604 that no motor common carrier can operate without first obtaining a certificate. 1973 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 73-85 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-604).

Unconstitutional delegation of authority. - If the commission issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity which automatically terminated upon the decision of the municipality to terminate the contract with the certificate holder, the commission would have unlawfully delegated its authority to issue certificates to that municipality. 1980 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 80-162 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-605).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, § 125 et seq.

3B Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 602.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 214 et seq.

40-1-100. Definitions.

As used in this part, the term:

  1. "Carrier" means a person who undertakes the transporting of goods or passengers for compensation.
  2. "Certificate" or "motor carrier certificate" means a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued pursuant to this part or under the "Motor Carrier Act of 1929," under the "Motor Carrier Act of 1931," or under prior law.
  3. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of public safety.
  4. "Company" shall include a corporation, a firm, a partnership, an association, or an individual.
  5. "Corporate sponsored vanpool" means a rideshare program sponsored by an employer in which the employer pays all or some of the costs associated with the transportation of its employees to a single work reporting location and all the vehicles used in the program have a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of not more than 10,000 pounds and are designed to carry not more than 15 passengers including the driver.
  6. "Department" means the Department of Public Safety.
  7. "Exempt rideshare" means:
    1. Government endorsed rideshare programs;
    2. Rideshare programs in which a rideshare driver seeks reimbursement for, or the rideshare participants pool or otherwise share, rideshare costs such as fuel; or
    3. The leasing or rental of a vehicle, in the ordinary course of the lessor's or rentor's business, for rideshare purposes as part of a government endorsed rideshare program, or for rideshare under a contract requiring compliance with subparagraph (B) of this paragraph.
  8. "For compensation" or "for hire" means an activity relating to a person engaged in the transportation of goods or passengers for compensation.
  9. "Government endorsed rideshare program" means a vanpool, carpool, or similar rideshare operation conducted by or under the auspices of a state or local governmental transit instrumentality, such as GRTA, a transportation management association, or a community improvement district, or conducted under the auspices of such transit agencies, including through any form of contract between such transit instrumentality and private persons or businesses.
  10. "GRTA" means the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, which is itself exempt from regulation as a carrier under Code Section 50-32-71.
  11. "Household goods" means any personal effects and property used or to be used in a dwelling when a part of the equipment or supplies of such dwelling and such other similar property as the commissioner may provide for by regulation; provided, however, that such term shall not include property being moved from a factory or store except when such property has been purchased by a householder with the intent to use such property in a dwelling and such property is transported at the request of, and with transportation charges paid by, the householder.
  12. "Motor carrier" means:
    1. Every person owning, controlling, operating, or managing any motor vehicle, including the lessees, receivers, or trustees of such persons or receivers appointed by any court, used in the business of transporting for hire persons, household goods, or property or engaged in the activity of nonconsensual towing pursuant to Code Section 44-1-13 for hire over any public highway in this state.
    2. Except as otherwise provided in this subparagraph, the term "motor carrier" shall not include:
      1. Motor vehicles engaged solely in transporting school children and teachers to and from public schools and private schools;
      2. Taxicabs which operate within the corporate limits of municipalities and are subject to regulation by the governing authorities of such municipalities; the provisions of this division notwithstanding, vehicles and the drivers thereof operating within the corporate limits of any city shall be subject to the safety regulations adopted by the commissioner of public safety pursuant to Code Section 40-1-8;
      3. Limousine carriers as provided for in Part 3 of this article;
      4. Hotel passenger or baggage motor vehicles when used exclusively for patrons and employees of such hotel;
      5. Motor vehicles operated not for profit with a capacity of 15 persons or less when they are used exclusively to transport elderly and disabled passengers or employees under a corporate sponsored vanpool program, except that a vehicle owned by the driver may be operated for profit when such driver is traveling to and from his or her place of work, provided each such vehicle carrying more than nine passengers maintains liability insurance in an amount of not less than $100,000.00 per person and $300,000.00 per accident and $50,000.00 property damage. For the purposes of this part, elderly and disabled passengers are defined as individuals over the age of 60 years or who, by reason of illness, injury, age, congenital malfunction, or other permanent or temporary incapacity or disability, are unable to utilize mass transportation facilities as effectively as persons who are not so affected;
      6. Motor vehicles owned and operated exclusively by the United States government or by this state or any subdivision thereof;
      7. Vehicles, owned or operated by the federal or state government or by any agency, instrumentality, or political subdivision of the federal or state government, or privately owned and operated for profit or not for profit, capable of transporting not more than ten persons for hire when such vehicles are used exclusively to transport persons who are elderly, disabled, en route to receive medical care or prescription medication, or returning after receiving medical care or prescription medication. For the purpose of this part, elderly and disabled persons shall have the same meaning as in division (v) of this subparagraph; or
      8. Ambulances.
  13. "Passenger" means a person who travels in a public conveyance by virtue of a contract, either express or implied, with the carrier as to the payment of the fare or that which is accepted as an equivalent therefor. The prepayment of fare is not necessary to establish the relationship of passenger and carrier, although a carrier may demand prepayment of fare if persons enter his or her vehicle by his or her permission with the intention of being carried; in the absence of such a demand, an obligation to pay fare is implied on the part of the passenger, and the reciprocal obligation of carriage of the carrier arises upon the entry of the passenger.
  14. "Permit" means a written or electronic authorization issued by the department to motor carriers of passengers and nonconsensual towing companies for the purpose of providing services in accordance with the rules and guidelines of the department.
  15. "Person" means any individual, partnership, trust, private or public corporation, municipality, county, political subdivision, public authority, cooperative, association, or public or private organization of any character.
  16. "Public highway" means every public street, road, highway, or thoroughfare of any kind in this state.
  17. "Vehicle" or "motor vehicle" means any vehicle, machine, tractor, trailer, or semitrailer propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used upon the highways in the transportation of passengers or property, or any combination thereof, determined by the commissioner. (Code 1981, § 40-1-100 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40/HB 79; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 6/HB 323.)

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2012, "Code Section 40-1-8" was substituted for "Code Section 60-1-8" at the end of division (10)(B)(ii) (now division (12)(B)(ii)) and "division (v) of this subparagraph" was substituted for "division (iv) of this subparagraph" near the end of division (10)(B)(vii) (now division (12)(B)(vii)).

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

Law reviews. - For annual survey on commercial transportation, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 41 (2017).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Vehicle used for medical transport not motor carrier. - Survivors of a deceased patient could not bring a direct action against a transporting van's insurer under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-112(c) of the Georgia Motor Carriers Act because the van was exempt from the motor carrier definition under O.C.G.A. § 40-1- 100(12)(B)(vii): the van was used exclusively to transport individuals to receive medical care and was not capable of transporting more than 10 people, although the van had originally been designed to carry 12 people. Mornay v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, 331 Ga. App. 112 , 769 S.E.2d 807 (2015).

40-1-101. Regulatory compliance inspections; regulation of business; requirements of motor carriers.

  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, all motor carriers operating on the public roads of this state shall be subject to the requirements of this part and shall be deemed to have given consent to regulatory compliance inspections.
  2. Unless expressly prohibited by federal law, the commissioner is vested with power to regulate the business of any person engaged in the transportation as a motor carrier of persons or property, either or both, for hire on any public highway of this state.
  3. The commissioner is authorized to employ and designate a person or persons as necessary to implement and carry out the functions contained in this part.
  4. All motor carriers shall:
    1. Obtain a certificate as required by this part;
    2. Maintain liability insurance as provided in the rules and regulations of the department;
    3. Act in compliance with Georgia's workers' compensation laws as provided in Chapter 9 of Title 34; and
    4. Be a United States citizen, or if not a citizen, present federal documentation verified by the United States Department of Homeland Security to be valid documentary evidence of lawful presence in the United States under federal immigration law. (Code 1981, § 40-1-101 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40/HB 79.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40(4)/HB 79, which amended this Code section, purported to amend paragraph (3) of this Code section, but actually amended paragraph (d)(3) of this Code section.

Law reviews. - For annual survey on commercial transportation, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 41 (2017).

40-1-102. Certificate or permit prerequisite to operation; minimum insurance requirement.

  1. No motor carrier of passengers or household goods shall, except as otherwise provided in this part, operate without first obtaining from the commissioner a certificate or permit.
  2. Before a motor carrier may enter into any contract for the transportation of passengers, the motor carrier shall provide to all parties to the agreement a copy of the motor carrier's proof of legally required minimum insurance coverage and a valid certification number demonstrating that the motor carrier is currently certified by the commissioner, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or any other similarly required certifying agency. Any contract entered into in violation of this Code section shall be void and unenforceable. (Code 1981, § 40-1-102 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40/HB 79; Ga. L. 2013, p. 756, § 1/HB 255; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 7/HB 323.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 54(f)/HB 79, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "In the event of a conflict between a provision in Sections 1 through 53 of this Act and a provision of another Act enacted at the 2013 regular session of the General Assembly, the provision of such other Act shall control over the conflicting provision in Sections 1 through 53 of this Act to the extent of the conflict."

Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

40-1-103. Application form for certificate; issuance to qualified applicant.

  1. The department shall prescribe the form of the application for a motor carrier certificate and shall prescribe such reasonable requirements as to notice, publication, proof of service, maintenance of adequate liability insurance coverage, and information as may, in its judgment, be necessary and may establish fees as part of such certificate process.
  2. A motor carrier certificate shall be issued to any qualified applicant, provided that such applicant is a motor carrier business domiciled in this state, authorizing the operations covered by the application if it is found that the applicant is fit, willing, and able to perform properly the service and conform to the provisions of this part and the rules and regulations of the department and has not been convicted of any felony as such violation or violations are related to the operation of a motor vehicle. (Code 1981, § 40-1-103 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-104. Revocation, alteration, or amendment of certificate or permit; suspension; out-of-service orders.

  1. The commissioner may, at any time after notice and opportunity to be heard and for reasonable cause, revoke, alter, or amend any motor carrier certificate or permit, if it shall be made to appear that the holder of the certificate has willfully violated or refused to observe any of the lawful and reasonable orders, rules, or regulations prescribed by the commissioner or any of the provisions of this part or any other law of this state regulating or taxing motor vehicles, or both, or if in the opinion of the commissioner the holder of the certificate is not furnishing adequate service.
  2. The commissioner may, at any time, after reasonable attempt at notice, immediately suspend any motor carrier certificate or permit, if the commissioner finds such suspension necessary:
    1. To protect life, health, or safety;
    2. For the protection of consumers; or
    3. Based upon a finding that the carrier no longer meets the qualification or fitness requirements of Code Section 40-1-103 or 40-1-106.

      Certificate holders affected by such suspension may appeal to the commissioner for review pursuant to Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act." The commissioner may exercise his or her discretion to designate a hearing officer for such appeals.

  3. The commissioner, or his or her designated employees, may issue an out-of-service order or orders to a certificate or permit holder, pursuant to the provisions of this article or the department's rules. (Code 1981, § 40-1-104 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40/HB 79; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 8/HB 323.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 68-607 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

No right to review revocation order of commission by writ of certiorari. - When a certificate of public convenience and necessity has been granted by the commission to a motor common carrier to operate a passenger, baggage, and express service by motor vehicles over a specified route between certain named cities in this state, and, thereafter such certificate is revoked and canceled by order of the commission, after hearing pursuant to a rule nisi, because of the carrier's failure to operate passenger bus service under said certificate, the motor common carrier has not the right to review such order or judgment of the commission by writ of certiorari from the superior court, as the act of the commission in the revocation of such certificate was not a judicial function, but was the exercise of administrative power, to which action the writ of certiorari does not lie. Southeastern Greyhound Lines v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 181 Ga. 75 , 181 S.E. 834 , answer conformed to, 52 Ga. App. 35 , 182 S.E. 204 (1935);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-607).

Authority of commission to transfer truck operations. - When a Class "B" certificate authorizing a holder to transport household, kitchen, office furniture, and store fixtures between all points in Georgia, which, under former Code 1933, § 68-607, the commission was authorized to "suspend, revoke, alter, or amend," and under former Code 1933, § 68-608, was authorized to transfer, was altered or amended and transferred, being limited to between all points within a 20 mile radius of Atlanta, there was no merit in the contention that the commission was without authority to transplant a one-truck operation from the outskirts of Calhoun to an eleven-truck operation in the metropolis of Atlanta. Woodside Transf. & Storage Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 212 Ga. 625 , 94 S.E.2d 706 (1956);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-607).

Control of pedestrians and motor vehicles within police power of municipality. - Control of pedestrians and motor vehicles on municipal streets, including those on and around school grounds was a governmental function within the police power of the municipality. Fletcher v. Russell, 151 Ga. App. 229 , 259 S.E.2d 212 (1979), rev'd on other grounds, 244 Ga. 854 , 262 S.E.2d 138 (1979);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-607).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under former Code 1933, § 68-607, which was subsequently repealed but was succeeded by provisions in this Code section, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Former Code 1933, § 68-607 was plain and unambiguous, and hence not subject to legal interpretation; it clearly authorized the commission to revoke or amend a certificate if the carrier was not furnishing adequate service. The only question to be determined in such a case was whether or not the service was inadequate from any cause; it made no difference whether that inadequacy may have resulted from abandonment of other services by the applicant or any other carrier, or whether it arises from gradual population shifts. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 222 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-607).

Public convenience and necessity determinative factor concerning continuation of service. - In determining whether a branch line should be discontinued, public convenience and necessity - not loss to the utility - when the operation as a whole is profitable, is the determinative factor, and the commission may consider the return from the entire system rather than just the branch line. Of course, under the guise of regulation the property of a carrier may not be taken by requiring it to furnish services or facilities not reasonably necessary to serve the public. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 222 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-607).

Effect of revocation of certificate by commission. - When the commission, under former Code 1933, § 68-607, after notice and opportunity to be heard, and for reasonable cause, revoked and canceled a certificate of public convenience and necessity, such certificate became forever dead and the original holder thereof had no further privileges thereunder, and before the holder of such canceled and revoked certificate can again enjoy the privileges the holder formerly enjoyed under the certificate, the holder must first file a new application and it then became the duty of the commission to assign the application for a hearing so that the commission may determine that the public interest required such operations. 1945-47 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 403 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-607).

Duty of utility to furnish adequate service correlative of right to serve. - Former Code 1933, § 68-607 was simply one expression of the principle which permeated all public utility regulations - the duty of the utility to furnish adequate service, which was a correlative of its right to serve. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 222 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-607).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, §§ 140 et seq., 155.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 258 et seq., 300, 301.

40-1-105. Transfer of certificate.

Any motor carrier certificate issued pursuant to this part may be transferred upon application to and approval by the commissioner, and not otherwise.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-105 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 68-608 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Authority of commission to transfer truck operations. - When a Class "B" certificate authorizing a holder to transport household, kitchen, office furniture, and store fixtures between all points in Georgia, which, under former Code 1933, § 68-607, the commission was authorized to "suspend, revoke, alter, or amend," and under former Code 1933, § 68-608, was authorized to transfer was altered or amended and transferred, being limited to between all points within a 20 mile radius of Atlanta there was no merit in the contention that the commission was without authority to transplant a one-truck operation from the outskirts of Calhoun to an eleven-truck operation in the metropolis of Atlanta. Woodside Transf. & Storage Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 212 Ga. 625 , 94 S.E.2d 706 (1956);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-608).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, § 135 et seq.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 201 et seq.

ALR. - Carrier's certificate of convenience and necessity, franchise, or permit as subject to transfer or encumbrance, 15 A.L.R.2d 883.

40-1-106. Fitness of applicant; protest of application by certificate holder.

  1. The commissioner shall issue a motor carrier certificate to a person authorizing transportation as a motor carrier of passengers or household goods subject to the jurisdiction of the department if the commissioner finds that the person is fit, willing, and able to provide the transportation to be authorized by the certificate and to comply with regulations of the department. Fitness encompasses three factors:
    1. The applicant's financial ability to perform the service it seeks to provide;
    2. The applicant's capability and willingness to perform properly and safely the proposed service; and
    3. The applicant's willingness to comply with the laws of Georgia and the rules and regulations of the department.
  2. The initial burden of making out a prima-facie case that an applicant is fit to provide such service rests with the applicant.
  3. Upon an applicant making out a prima-facie case as to the motor carrier's ability to provide the service, the burden shifts to protestant to show that the authority sought should not be granted.
  4. A protest of a motor carrier of passengers or of household goods to an application shall not be considered unless the protesting motor carrier:
    1. Possesses authority from the department to handle, in whole or in part, the authority which is being applied for and is willing and able to provide service and has performed service during the previous 12 month period or has actively in good faith solicited service during such period;
    2. Has pending before the department an application previously filed with the department for substantially the same authority; or
    3. Is granted by the commissioner leave to intervene upon a showing of other interests which in the discretion of the commissioner would warrant such a grant.
  5. The commissioner may issue a certificate without a hearing if the application is unprotested or unopposed. (Code 1981, § 40-1-106 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 9/HB 323.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 68-609 and former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-7 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Principles generally accepted as elements of proof of public convenience and necessity. - In determining whether the public interest requires the service and whether the certificate should be granted, the commission was directed by statute to consider the five subjects set out in former Code 1933, § 68-609. While these provisions were only directory or advisory, and it was not mandatory that each be proved before the commission was authorized to grant a certificate, this court recognized that this was a pronouncement by the General Assembly of principles of law generally accepted as elements of proof of public convenience and necessity. Tamiami Trail Tours, Inc. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 213 Ga. 418 , 99 S.E.2d 225 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

Provisions of this Code section are advisory. - Each of the five specific subjects set forth in former Code 1933, § 68-609, which the law said the commission must consider, was intended for the guidance of the commission and to define the fields in which the commission should give consideration, but was merely advisory, irrespective of what the evidence might disclose in respect to each of the five subjects. Petroleum Carrier Corp. v. Davis, 210 Ga. 568 , 81 S.E.2d 805 (1954) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

Provisions not applicable to grant or denial of Class "B" certificates. - Provisions of former Code 1933, § 68-609 declaring that the commission must consider whether existing transportation service of all kinds was adequate to meet the reasonable public needs, the volume of existing traffic over such route, and whether such traffic and that reasonably to be anticipated in the future can support already existing transportation agencies and also the applicant, the effect on existing transportation revenues and service of all kinds, and particularly whether the granting of such certificate would or may seriously impair essential existing public service, was advisory only and, irrespective of what the evidence might be upon the subjects there mentioned, the commission may grant or deny a Class "B" certificate without offending the law. Petroleum Carrier Corp. v. Davis, 210 Ga. 568 , 81 S.E.2d 805 (1954) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609); Woodside Transf. & Storage Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 212 Ga. 625 , 94 S.E.2d 706 (1956);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

The 1950 amendment to former Code 1933, § 68-609 was expressly limited to certificates over fixed routes, and had no application to Class "B" certificates. Petroleum Carrier Corp. v. Davis, 210 Ga. 568 , 81 S.E.2d 805 (1954) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609); Woodside Transf. & Storage Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 212 Ga. 625 , 94 S.E.2d 706 (1956);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

Use of term "public." - The use of the term "public" in former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-7 was intended to distinguish private carriage operations which require no certificate of public convenience and necessity. Georgia Messenger Serv., Inc. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 194 Ga. App. 340 , 390 S.E.2d 283 , cert. vacated, 260 Ga. 470 , 397 S.E.2d 709 (1990) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-7).

Primary concern is public interest and welfare and grant of certificate is discretionary. - In the hearing on an application for a certificate, the commission merely conducts an investigation of fact, authorized by statute, in the determination of which the primary concern is the public interest and welfare. Whether or not the commission grants an application for a certificate is purely a matter of discretion and not one of absolute right. Tamiami Trail Tours, Inc. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 213 Ga. 418 , 99 S.E.2d 225 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

Five factors enumerated to be considered by commission. - Former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-7 enumerated five factors, among others, that the Public Service Commission must consider in determining whether a certificate of public convenience and necessity should be granted. RTC Transp., Inc. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 165 Ga. App. 539 , 301 S.E.2d 896 (1983) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-7).

Public interest comprehends much more than five elements contained in this section. - Both former Code 1933, § 68-504, which related to "motor contract carriers" and former Code 1933, § 68-609, which related to "motor common carriers" require the procurement of a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the commission after a hearing pursuant to findings by the commission to the effect that "the public interest requires such operation." The public interest, while embracing the five elements, comprehends much more. J. & M. Transp. Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 217 Ga. 296 , 122 S.E.2d 227 (1961) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

No error to refuse injunction when evidence supports discretion of commission. - When it appears that the commission had evidence authorizing the commission in the exercise of the commission's discretion to issue the certificate applied for, the trial judge did not err in refusing to enjoin the commission or the applicant. J. & M. Transp. Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 217 Ga. 296 , 122 S.E.2d 227 (1961) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

Commission free to exercise its judgment to grant or deny applications. - Commission, as respects Class "B" certificates, is free to exercise the commission's own judgment and to grant or deny the applications for such certificates. Petroleum Carrier Corp. v. Davis, 210 Ga. 568 , 81 S.E.2d 805 (1954) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

Error for trial judge to enjoin certificate holder from operating. - It was error for the trial judge to enjoin the holder of a Class "B" certificate from operating thereunder upon the theory that the evidence failed to show inadequacy of existing transportation service. Petroleum Carrier Corp. v. Davis, 210 Ga. 568 , 81 S.E.2d 805 (1954) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

No interference with order of commission unless showing of unreasonableness. - Neither the trial court, nor a court on review, will substitute the court's own discretion and judgment for that of the commission when the commission exercised the commission's discretion in a matter over which the commission had jurisdiction, and will not interfere with a valid order of the commission unless it be clearly shown that the order is unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious. Brown Transp. Corp. v. Pilcher, 222 Ga. 276 , 149 S.E.2d 670 (1966) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

Commission's order supported by some evidence will not be overturned on appeal. - When the record reflects that the Public Service Commission's order denying the requested certificates was supported by some evidence and was not unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious, the Court of Appeals will not substitute the court's own decision for that of the commission. RTC Transp., Inc. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 165 Ga. App. 539 , 301 S.E.2d 896 (1983) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-7).

Applicability of decisions of Supreme Court construing comparable provisions. - Provisions of former Code 1933, § 68-504 were in all respects the same as the provisions of former Code 1933, § 68-609 with respect to the enumerated five elements that the commission must consider. Therefore, the decisions of the Supreme Court dealing with former Code 1933, § 68-609, were directly applicable and controlling on the construction of former Code 1933, § 68-504. Both sections add to the five enumerated considerations the following: "among other things." This quoted provision cannot be ignored, and its proper recognition required a construction that the commission's judgment need not rest upon any or all of the five fields enumerated. J. & M. Transp. Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 217 Ga. 296 , 122 S.E.2d 227 (1961) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

So long as certificate remained unrevoked, commission could authorize certificate's transfer. - Question of public convenience and necessity having been determined by the commission at the time the certificate was issued, the commission would not be required on an application for transfer to consider that question again before granting a transfer of the certificate. Tamiami Trail Tours, Inc. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 213 Ga. 418 , 99 S.E.2d 225 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

When existing certificate holder not entitled to notice and opportunity required by this section. - When the proposed route was not the same as that used by a certificate holder, that company was not entitled to notice and an opportunity to remedy inadequate service as required by former Code 1933, § 68-609. Tamiami Trail Tours, Inc. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 213 Ga. 418 , 99 S.E.2d 225 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

Existing certificate holder must have opportunity to improve service. - Competing motor carrier certificate cannot be granted until after the existing certificate holder has had an opportunity to improve service. Statesboro Tel. Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 235 Ga. 179 , 219 S.E.2d 127 (1975) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

"Route" defined. - Word "route," as used in former Code 1933, § 68-609, meant the particular highway or road, or series of highways or roads, over which a carrier is authorized by the commission to operate the carrier's vehicles between terminal points. Tamiami Trail Tours, Inc. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 213 Ga. 418 , 99 S.E.2d 225 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

"Route" and "highway" distinguished. - A "route" is a direction of travel from one place to another. It may be over one or more named or numbered highways or paths. A "highway" is a road for travel, and may be a portion of one or more different routes. When numbered or named as a highway running from one point to another, it becomes a route. Brown Transp. Corp. v. Pilcher, 222 Ga. 276 , 149 S.E.2d 670 (1966) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

When two routes can be same route. - Two routes cannot be the same unless the highways, the certificates of convenience and necessity, and the terminal points are the same. Brown Transp. Corp. v. Pilcher, 222 Ga. 276 , 149 S.E.2d 670 (1966) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-609).

Certificate amendment based on need expressed by single shipper. - Certificate amendment, which was sought on the basis of a need expressed by a single shipper, was properly granted since the evidence established that the proposed service would serve a useful public purpose and be responsive to a public demand or need. Georgia Messenger Serv., Inc. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 194 Ga. App. 340 , 390 S.E.2d 283 , cert. vacated, 260 Ga. 470 , 397 S.E.2d 709 (1990) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-7).

Cited in Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n v. Smith Transf. Co., 207 Ga. 658 , 63 S.E.2d 653 (1951).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, § 130 et seq.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 201, 214 et seq., 223 et seq.

ALR. - State regulation of carriers by motor vehicle as affected by interstate commerce clause, 47 A.L.R. 230 ; 49 A.L.R. 1203 ; 62 A.L.R. 52 ; 85 A.L.R. 1136 ; 109 A.L.R. 1245 ; 135 A.L.R. 1358 .

When granting or refusing certificate of necessity or convenience for operation of motorbuses justified, 67 A.L.R. 957 .

40-1-107. Information in application.

The commissioner shall adopt rules prescribing the manner and form in which motor carriers of passengers or household goods or property shall apply for certificates required by this part. Such rules shall require that the application be in writing, under oath, and that the application:

  1. Contains full information concerning the applicant's financial condition, the equipment proposed to be used, including the size, weight, and capacity of each vehicle to be used, and other physical property of the applicant;
  2. States the complete route or routes over which the applicant desires to operate and the proposed time schedule of the operation; and
  3. Contains any such other or additional information as the commissioner may order or require. (Code 1981, § 40-1-107 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-108. Transportation of persons under age 21 drinking alcohol.

Any motor carrier subject to the jurisdiction of the commissioner that transports passengers shall comply with the provisions of Code Section 3-3-23, concerning consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of 21. The commissioner shall provide to all motor carriers, at the time of registration or renewal of a certificate, an informational packet emphasizing the prohibition on alcohol consumption by persons under the age of 21 while being transported by the motor carrier.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-108 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-109. Fees upon initial application.

The commissioner shall collect the following one-time fees upon initial application of a motor carrier pursuant to this part:

  1. A fee of $75.00 to accompany each application for a motor carrier certificate, or amendment to an existing certificate, where the applicant owns or operates fewer than six motor vehicles;
  2. A fee of $150.00 to accompany each application for a motor carrier certificate, or amendment to an existing certificate, where the applicant owns or operates six to 15 motor vehicles;
  3. A fee of $200.00 to accompany each application for a motor carrier certificate, or amendment to an existing certificate, where the applicant owns or operates more than 15 motor vehicles;
  4. A fee of $75.00 to accompany each application for transfer of a motor carrier certificate; and
  5. A fee of $50.00 to accompany each application for intrastate temporary emergency authority under Code Section 40-1-114 . (Code 1981, § 40-1-109 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2012, "Code Section 40-1-114" was substituted for "Code Section 40-1-104" at the end of paragraph (5).

40-1-110. Hearing and notice of pending application.

The commissioner, upon the filing of an application for a motor carrier certificate, shall give notice of the pending application by posting the same on the department's official website for ten days. If a protest is filed with the department, the commissioner shall fix a time and place for a hearing. If no protest is filed with the department or if the protest is subsequently withdrawn, the commissioner may issue the motor carrier certificate without a hearing.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-110 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 10/HB 323.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

40-1-111. Limitation upon reapplication for denied applicants.

When an application for a motor carrier certificate under this part has been in whole or in part denied by the commissioner, or has been granted by the commissioner, and the order of the commissioner granting same has been quashed or set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction, a new application by the same petitioner or applicant therefor shall not be again considered by the department within three months from the date of the order denying the same or the judgment of the court quashing or setting aside the order.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-111 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-112. Insurance of motor carriers.

  1. No motor carrier of household goods or property or passengers shall be issued a motor carrier certificate unless there is filed with the department a certificate of insurance for such applicant or holder on forms prescribed by the commissioner evidencing a policy of indemnity insurance by an insurance company licensed to do business in this state, which policy must provide for the protection, in case of passenger vehicles, of passengers and the public against injury proximately caused by the negligence of such motor carrier, its servants, or its agents; and, in the case of vehicles transporting household goods, to secure the owner or person entitled to recover against loss or damage to such household goods for which the motor common carrier may be legally liable. The department shall determine and fix the amounts of such indemnity insurance and shall prescribe the provisions and limitations thereof. The insurer shall file such certificate. The failure to file any form required by the department shall not diminish the rights of any person to pursue an action directly against a motor carrier's insurer.
  2. The department shall have power to permit self-insurance, in lieu of a policy of indemnity insurance, whenever in its opinion the financial ability of the motor carrier so warrants.
  3. It shall be permissible under this part for any person having a cause of action arising under this part to join in the same action the motor carrier and the insurance carrier, whether arising in tort or contract. (Code 1981, § 40-1-112 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

Law reviews. - For annual survey on commercial transportation, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 41 (2017). For annual survey on insurance law, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 117 (2017).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

ANALYSIS

General Consideration

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293, former Code 1933, § 68-612, and former O.C.G.A. §§ 46-7-12 and 46-7-58 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Purpose of Code section. - Former Code 1933, § 68-612 did not have as the statute's purpose protecting the insured from loss, but in the protection of the public against carrier-inflicted injuries. Farley v. Continental Ins. Co., 150 Ga. App. 389 , 258 S.E.2d 8 (1979) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Constitutionality. - Last sentence in subsection (e) (now subsection (c)) of former Code 1933, § 68-612 considered with the statute's context, was not a special law, but a general law applicable alike to all motor carriers and indemnity- insurance companies filing bonds and insurance policies under provisions of the act in all parts of the state, and being of such character was not violative of Ga. Const. 1976, Art. I, Sec. II, Para. VII, (Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. II, Para. X) inhibiting passage of special laws for which provision has been made by an existing general law. Lloyds Am. v. Brown, 187 Ga. 240 , 200 S.E. 292 (1938) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Former Code 1933, § 68-612 was not void as violative of Ga. Const. 1976, Art. I, Sec. II, Para. III (Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. II, Para. IV) or U.S. Const., art. XIV, sec. 1. Lloyds Am. v. Brown, 187 Ga. 240 , 200 S.E. 292 (1938) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Joinder of the motor carrier and the carrier's insurer or surety in the same action does not violate the equal protection or due process clauses of the Georgia Constitution. Grissom v. Gleason, 262 Ga. 374 , 418 S.E.2d 27 (1992) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Joinder provision did not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution of the State of Georgia of 1983. Edwards v. Kessler, 262 Ga. 346 , 419 S.E.2d 21 (1992) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-58).

Any issue as to the constitutionality of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 was in the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on appeal and, in any case, could not be properly raised on appeal when the trial court did not expressly consider and rule upon the issue. Wright v. Transus, Inc., 209 Ga. App. 771 , 434 S.E.2d 786 (1993) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Section must be strictly construed. - Former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 was in derogation of the common law and must be strictly construed. National Indem. Co. v. Tatum, 193 Ga. App. 698 , 388 S.E.2d 896 (1989) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Duty to indemnify motoring public for carrier's negligence. - When an insurer purports to issue coverage to an insured which the insurer knows is a motor carrier, the insurer assumes responsibility to indemnify the motoring public for injuries sustained by virtue of the carrier's negligence in at least the minimum amount statutorily required under the former Georgia Motor Carrier Act, former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-1 et seq., and up to the policy limits, notwithstanding any provisions in the insurance policy to the contrary; any negative consequences arising from noncompliance with the Act by the insured motor carrier or the insurer should be suffered by one or both of the noncompliant parties rather than by the innocent motoring public. Sapp v. Canal Ins. Co., 288 Ga. 681 , 706 S.E.2d 644 (2011) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-1 2).

Insurer's liability for unsatisfied judgment against insured. - An insurer is absolutely liable for any unsatisfied judgment which may be obtained against its insured whether or not its insured breached the conditions of the policy. Seawheels, Inc. v. Bankers & Shippers Ins. Co., 175 Ga. App. 528 , 333 S.E.2d 650 (1985) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Carrier's liability for operation by lessee of truck with trailer removed. - Public policy independently intended motor carrier to bear full responsibility to public for the operation by its lessee of a "bobtailed" truck (tractor with trailer removed) which the lessee was driving on the lessee's way home. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co. v. Holbrooks, 187 Ga. App. 706 , 371 S.E.2d 252 (1988) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Trial court properly denied the insurer's summary judgment motions claiming that the direct actions against the insurer were not authorized because, although it was apparent that the plain language of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-126 evinced the legislative intent that the direct action provision of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-112(c) did not apply to purely interstate commerce or to a carrier engaged exclusively in interstate commerce, and the tractor-trailer driver and the trucking company were engaged in an interstate trip at the time of the accident, the joinder of the insurer as a defendant was authorized by the direct action provision of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-140(d)(4) as that statute indicated that injured parties were able to join the insurers of interstate motor carriers. Daily Underwriters of America v. Williams, 354 Ga. App. 551 , 841 S.E.2d 135 (2020).

Preemption by federal law. - Former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 was not preempted by 49 U.S.C. § 10927 which provided for payment of a claim by an insurer after a final judgment had been recovered against the motor carrier the insurer insures. Watkins v. H.O. Croley Granary, 555 F. Supp. 458 (N.D. Ga. 1982) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Liability Risk Retention Act, 15 U.S.C. § 3901 et seq., preempted Georgia's motor carrier and insurance carrier direct action statutes, O.C.G.A. §§ 40-1-112(c) and 40-2-140(d)(4), in regard to a risk retention group that was not chartered in Georgia, thus precluding injured passengers from bringing a direct action against the risk retention group. The court rejected the passengers' contention that the statutes were financial responsibility laws and not preempted under 15 U.S.C. § 3905. Reis v. OOIDA Risk Retention Group, Inc., 303 Ga. 659 , 814 S.E.2d 338 (2018).

No direct action against insurer of exempt vehicle. - When an insured commercial motor vehicle was acting as a timber hauler at the time of an accident, it was not within the definition of a common carrier or contract carrier, and no direct action could be maintained against an insurer because the insurer was outside the ambit of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12. Smith v. Southern Gen. Ins. Co., 222 Ga. App. 582 , 474 S.E.2d 745 (1996) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Since former O.C.G.A. § 46-1-1 (9)(C)(xiv), as it existed prior to the 2002 amendment, exempted dump trucks from the definition of motor contract or common carrier, the insurer for a dump truck that was involved in a motor vehicle collision could not be subjected to a direct action. The insurer was properly dismissed from a counterclaim against the driver in the driver's personal injury action against the other driver. Morgan Driveaway, Inc. v. Canal Ins. Co., 266 Ga. App. 765 , 598 S.E.2d 38 (2004) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Medical van exempt. - Survivors of a deceased patient could not bring a direct action against a transporting van's insurer under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-112(c) of the Georgia Motor Carriers Act because the van was exempt from the motor carrier definition under O.C.G.A. § 40-1- 100(12)(B)(vii): the van was used exclusively to transport individuals to receive medical care and was not capable of transporting more than 10 people, although the van had originally been designed to carry 12 people. Mornay v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, 331 Ga. App. 112 , 769 S.E.2d 807 (2015).

"Actionable injury" defined. - "Actionable injury" means an injury to a person who could sue the carrier and obtain a judgment for the injuries sustained. Such definition by its nature broadly includes all third-parties injured by the negligence of the motor carrier, or by the negligence of its servants, and necessarily excludes employees of the carrier who could not sue the employer. Likewise, if the motor carrier could not be liable for a failure of agency of a particular employee in the accident in question, the insurance company may be protected thereby. Spicer v. American Home Assurance Co., 292 F. Supp. 27 (N.D. Ga. 1967), aff'd, 402 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 946, 89 S. Ct. 1275 , 22 L. Ed. 2 d 479 (1969), commented on in 6 Ga. St. B.J. 225 (1969);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Under the laws of this state, a master is not liable for damages for the negligence of a fellow servant generally, and if a case is such that a master is so liable at common law generally, the master would not be subject to action and judgment if the carrier and employee came under the provisions of the workers' compensation law (see O.C.G.A. Ch. 9, T. 34). Combs v. Carolina Cas. Ins. Co., 90 Ga. App. 90 , 82 S.E.2d 32 (1954) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

No "actionable injury" against motor carrier for which insurer could be held liable. - See Mathews v. Rail Express, Inc., 836 F. Supp. 873 (N.D. Ga. 1993) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Injury refers to person and loss refers to baggage or property. - In former Code 1933, § 68-612, the word "injury" seems to refer to the person, and the word "loss" to baggage or property. Laster v. Maryland Cas. Co., 46 Ga. App. 620 , 168 S.E. 128 (1933) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612); LaHatte v. Walton, 53 Ga. App. 6 , 184 S.E. 742 (1936);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Accident on highways not prerequisite to cause of action. - Mere reference to use of Georgia highways in some sections of the Code does not mean that a person has a cause of action under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 only if an injury occurs on Georgia highways. Johnson v. Woodard, 208 Ga. App. 41 , 429 S.E.2d 701 (1993) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Until proper notice given to commission, insurance policy effective only for benefit of public. - Commission rules can only provide that until proper notice is given to the commission, an insurance policy is effective for the benefit of the public, not the insured in cases when the policy between the insured and the insurer has lapsed. Smith v. National Union Fire Ins. Co., 127 Ga. App. 752 , 195 S.E.2d 205 (1972) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Legislature's purpose in giving commission right to fix bond amount. - Legislature's purpose to obviate necessity for double litigation by giving commission right to fix the amount of the bond and to prescribe provision thereof. Laster v. Maryland Cas. Co., 46 Ga. App. 620 , 168 S.E. 128 (1933) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Extent of coverage under policy issued pursuant to former provisions. - Provision in a policy issued pursuant to the provisions of former Code 1933, § 68-612, that the policy covered the operation of automobiles and motor vehicles which were used only for the transportation of passengers for compensation purposes and operated on schedule over routes authorized by the commission covered motor vehicles not only when actually engaged in the transportation of passengers over scheduled routes, but covered such motor vehicles when used for any purpose or engaged in any act essential to the operation of the motor vehicle as a motor common carrier in the transportation of passengers for compensation over scheduled routes. American Fid. & Cas. Co. v. McWilliams, 55 Ga. App. 658 , 191 S.E. 191 (1937) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Evidence of policy limit. - Trial court did not abuse the court's discretion in denying appellees' motion for mistrial when counsel incorrectly asked witness about policy limit but before witness could answer opposing counsel objected; no evidence of the insurance policy limit was introduced by the unanswered question, and the trial court gave prompt curative instructions. Ashley v. Goss Bros. Trucking, 269 Ga. 449 , 499 S.E.2d 638 (1998) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Failure to list vehicle limited liability. - When the truck involved in a collision was not listed as a covered auto under an insurance policy issued by the insurer that filed a certificate of insurance for a carrier, the insurer's liability was limited to the minimum compulsory liability limits as established pursuant to former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12, not the maximum limits of the policy. Kinard v. National Indem. Co., 225 Ga. App. 176 , 483 S.E.2d 664 (1997), aff'd sub nom., Ross v. Stephens, 269 Ga. 266 , 496 S.E.2d 705 (1998) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Former Code 1933, § 68-612 was designed to protect strangers to motor carriers, not those who, although receiving paychecks from a lessor are involved in the operations of the carrier as if they were employees. White v. Excalibur Ins. Co., 599 F.2d 50 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 965, 100 S. Ct. 452 , 62 L. Ed. 2 d 377 (1979) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Personnel deemed statutory employees to ensure carrier's responsibility for public safety. - Because the carrier now has both a legal right and duty to control vehicles operated for the carrier's benefit, the employees of the vehicle-lessor are deemed statutory employees of the lessee-carrier to the extent necessary to insure the carrier's responsibility for the public safety just as if the lessee-carrier were the owner of the vehicles. White v. Excalibur Ins. Co., 599 F.2d 50 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 965, 100 S. Ct. 452 , 62 L. Ed. 2 d 377 (1979) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Contractual release and indemnity provision. - Application of the release and indemnity provision in an independent contractor agreement between a first driver and a common carrier did not violate the public policy of Georgia as it was not the purpose of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12, which was similar to 49 C.F.R. § 387.15, to make an insurer for a common carrier liable when a judgment could not be recovered against the carrier itself; based on the first driver's contractual relationship with the common carrier, the first driver was not a member of the general public meant to be protected by former § 46-7-12. Coleman v. B-H Transfer Co., 284 Ga. 624 , 669 S.E.2d 141 (2008) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Insurer subject to direct action by third parties injured by virtue of motor carrier's negligence. - Court of appeals erred in affirming an order granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment in the insurer's action seeking a declaration that a car accident involving a driver and a dump truck driver was not covered under the insurance policy the insurer issued to a motor carrier, which was the driver's employer, because the insurer was subject to a direct action under the former Georgia Motor Carrier Act, former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12.1(c), by third parties injured by virtue of the motor carrier's negligence since the motor carrier sought insurance coverage from the insurer, the insurer was on notice of the insurer's status as a motor carrier and of the insurer's need to obtain motor carrier coverage, and the motor carrier was not informed of nor otherwise had reason to believe that the policy fell short of the coverage the insurer was required by law to maintain; because any provisions in the insurance policy issued to the motor carrier that would serve to reduce or negate the insurer's obligations to the motoring public under the Act were void and of no effect, the radius-of-use limitation, which purported to exclude from coverage any incident occurring more than 50 miles from a city, was invalid, and the insurer was subject to liability up to the policy limit. Sapp v. Canal Ins. Co., 288 Ga. 681 , 706 S.E.2d 644 (2011) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Nature of liability of carrier and insurer. - Liability against the insurance carrier is ex contractu and the liability against (the insured) is ex delicto. The insurer and the carrier are neither joint tort-feasors nor joint contractors. Farley v. Continental Ins. Co., 150 Ga. App. 389 , 258 S.E.2d 8 (1979) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Permissibility of joinder of tort and contract actions. - Former Code 1933, § 68-612 allowed the joinder of a tort action against a carrier with a contract action against the carrier's insurer-in-lieu-of-bond. The only condition precedent to the joinder of the latter was that there be a viable action against the former. Farley v. Continental Ins. Co., 150 Ga. App. 389 , 258 S.E.2d 8 (1979) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Independent action on policy itself. - An action on the policy itself against the insurer of a motor carrier was cognizable as an independent suit without joinder of the motor carrier. Such a suit was an independent ex contractu action on the policy itself and was nonancillary to the ex delicto action against the motor carrier. Employers Ins. v. Dawson, 194 Ga. App. 247 , 390 S.E.2d 261 , cert. denied, 194 Ga. App. 911 , 390 S.E.2d 261 (1990) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Direct action not authorized when accident occurred outside state. - Former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 did not authorize direct causes of action when the accident giving rise to the suit occurs outside the state of Georgia. National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Marty, 197 Ga. App. 642 , 399 S.E.2d 260 (1990) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Even if underlying acts of negligence occur in Georgia, the purposes of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 and the state's interest in ensuring and expediting compensation of injured parties were not implicated when the accident does not occur in the state. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Dehart, 206 Ga. App. 858 , 426 S.E.2d 592 (1992) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Permissibility of direct action against insurer of interstate carrier. - When a motor common carrier held certificates of public convenience and necessity from both the Interstate Commerce Commission for operation as an interstate carrier and the Georgia Public Service Commission as an intrastate carrier, an action for damages arising from an accident occurring in the carrier's intrastate operation and proceeding upon the insurance policy filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission could be brought against the motor carrier's insurer in the first instance under former Code 1933, § 68-612. The requirement of 49 U.S.C. § 315 that final judgment first be obtained against the carrier was not applicable. Tucker v. Casualty Reciprocal Exch., 40 F. Supp. 383 (N.D. Ga. 1941) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Amendment of complaint permissible to add liability insurer as defendant. - With leave of the court, a complaint can be amended to bring in an additional defendant, a liability insurer for a defendant motor carrier when counsel did not learn that the defendant was a common carrier and required to furnish adequate security until after the discovery was commenced. Crews v. Blake, 52 F.R.D. 106 (S.D. Ga. 1971) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Effect on insurer of improper service on carrier. - Because the action against the insurance carrier was based on a contract with the public as the third party beneficiary of the contract and because subsection (e) of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 authorized the joinder of the motor carrier and the insurer in the same action, it was error to dismiss the action against the insurer on the basis that the motor carrier was not properly served. Ellerbee v. Interstate Contract Carrier Corp., 183 Ga. App. 828 , 360 S.E.2d 280 (1987) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Burden of proving vehicle exempt from definition of "motor contract carrier." - On the question of whether a carrier was a "motor contract carrier" under former O.C.G.A. § 46-1-1(8) such that the carrier's insurer was subject to the joinder provisions of subsection (e) of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12, the burden of proof was on the truck owner to show that the owner's truck came within the exemption from the definition of "motor contract carrier" in former § 46-1-1(8) (c) and there was no burden on plaintiffs to prove that the truck was not within the exemption. Georgia Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Jernigan, 166 Ga. App. 872 , 305 S.E.2d 611 (1983) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Exemption from motor contract carrier status must be established prior to liability. - If at any time up to and including the time of the collision with plaintiff, any of the requirements for the exemption from motor contract carrier status under former § 46-1-1(8)(c) had not been met, that motor vehicle would not have been engaged "exclusively" in the transportation of exempted products and would not qualify the owner for exemption from application of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12. Georgia Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Jernigan, 166 Ga. App. 872 , 305 S.E.2d 611 (1983) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Essential elements for allowing direct action against insurer. - Proof of filing of the insurance policy and approval by the public service commission was essential to allowing a direct action against the insurer of a motor contract carrier. Progressive Cas. Ins. Co. v. Scott, 188 Ga. App. 75 , 371 S.E.2d 881 (1988) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12); Kennedy v. Georgia-Carolina Refuse & Waste Co., 739 F. Supp. 604 (S.D. Ga. 1990);(decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Step van used exclusively by the van's owner to transport its own products, and which was never held out for hire to the public and was not used or hired by the public for the transportation of either goods or people was neither a common nor contract carrier as those terms were defined in O.C.G.A. Title 46 and used in the direct action provisions contained in former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12. National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Sorrow, 202 Ga. App. 517 , 414 S.E.2d 731 (1992) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Cited in A.G. Boone Co. v. Owens, 54 Ga. App. 379 , 187 S.E. 899 (1936); Hodges v. Ocean Accident & Guar. Corp., 66 Ga. App. 431 , 18 S.E.2d 28 (1941); Gallahar v. George A. Rheman Co., 50 F. Supp. 655 (S.D. Ga. 1943); American Fid. & Cas. Co. v. Farmer, 77 Ga. App. 166 , 48 S.E.2d 122 (1948); Arnold v. Walton, 205 Ga. 606 , 54 S.E.2d 424 (1949); Garden City Cab Co. v. Ransom, 86 Ga. App. 247 , 71 S.E.2d 443 (1952); Cotton States Mut. Ins. Co. v. Keefe, 215 Ga. 830 , 113 S.E.2d 774 (1960); Reeves v. South Am. Managers, Inc., 110 Ga. App. 49 , 137 S.E.2d 700 (1964); Wolverine Ins. Co. v. Strickland, 116 Ga. App. 62 , 156 S.E.2d 497 (1967); Barber v. Canal Ins. Co., 119 Ga. App. 738 , 168 S.E.2d 868 (1969); Schaefer v. Mayor of Athens, 120 Ga. App. 301 , 170 S.E.2d 339 (1969); St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Mose Gordon Constr. Co., 121 Ga. App. 33 , 172 S.E.2d 459 (1970); Isom v. Schettino, 129 Ga. App. 73 , 199 S.E.2d 89 (1973); Seaboard Coast Line R.R. v. Freight Delivery Serv., Inc., 133 Ga. App. 92 , 210 S.E.2d 42 (1974); Dove v. National Freight, Inc., 138 Ga. App. 144 , 225 S.E.2d 477 (1976); Mercer v. Braswell, 140 Ga. App. 624 , 231 S.E.2d 431 (1976); Homick v. American Cas. Co., 209 Ga. App. 156 , 433 S.E.2d 318 (1993); McAdams v. United States Fire Ins. Co., 234 Ga. App. 324 , 506 S.E.2d 679 (1998); Raintree Trucking Co. v. First Am. Ins. Co., 245 Ga. App. 305 , 534 S.E.2d 459 (2000); Jackson v. Sluder, 256 Ga. App. 812 , 569 S.E.2d 893 (2002); Cowart v. Widener, 296 Ga. App. 712 , 675 S.E.2d 591 (2009).

Pleadings and Practice
1. In General

Section established independent cause of action against insurer. - In addition to a suit in tort against a negligent motor carrier, former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 established an independent cause of action against the carrier's insurer on behalf of a member of the public injured by the carrier's negligence. Thomas v. Bobby Stevens Hauling Contractors, 165 Ga. App. 710 , 302 S.E.2d 585 (1983) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Cause of action against insurer is in contract not tort. Gates v. L.G. DeWitt, Inc., 528 F.2d 405 (5th Cir.), modified, 532 F.2d 1052 (5th Cir. 1976) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Distinction between liability of common carrier and obligation of insurer to injured. - Common carrier that negligently injures a person, and the insurance company that issues the carrier an indemnity policy under the provisions of former Code 1933, § 68-612, were neither joint tortfeasors nor joint contractors, so as to bring them within the provisions of Ga. Const. 1976, Art. VI, Sec. XIV, Para. IV (see now Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. II, Para. IV) permitting suit to be instituted against joint obligors or joint tortfeasors in the county of either, since the liability of the carrier to the injured person arose from a tort in the commission of which the insurance company was not concerned, while the insurance company's obligation to pay the damages caused by the carrier's negligence was a contractual duty not assumed by the carrier. Bolin v. Pennsylvania Threshermen & Farmers Mut. Cas. Ins. Co., 92 Ga. App. 726 , 89 S.E.2d 831 (1955) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Venue in action when party is natural person engaged in business of common carrier. - While joinder of the carrier and insurance company in the same action was permitted by former Code 1933, § 68-612, a natural person engaged in the business of a common carrier cannot be joined with the insurance company in an action instituted elsewhere than in the county where the carrier resides. Bolin v. Pennsylvania Threshermen & Farmers Mut. Cas. Ins. Co., 92 Ga. App. 726 , 89 S.E.2d 831 (1955) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Statute of limitations commenced to run at time of commission of alleged tort. - In an action based upon the insurance contract, the statute of limitation commenced running at the time of the commission of the alleged tort, which was the basis of the insurer's contractual liability. Addington v. Ohio S. Express, Inc., 118 Ga. App. 770 , 165 S.E.2d 658 (1968) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Not a special statutory proceeding. - Former Code 1933, § 68-612 was not a special statutory proceeding excluded from the purview of O.C.G.A. T. 9, C. 11. Continental Ins. Co. v. Mercer, 130 Ga. App. 339 , 203 S.E.2d 297 (1973) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Effect on insurer of improper service on carrier. - Fact that an interstate motor carrier had not been properly served did not mandate that the carrier's insurer also be dismissed. Ellerbee v. Interstate Contract Carrier Corp., 183 Ga. App. 828 , 360 S.E.2d 280 (1987) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

2. Proof Requirements

Coverage must be proved in actions when insurer is joined; if not, no verdict and judgment can be sustained against the insurer. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fleet Transp. Co., 116 Ga. App. 606 , 158 S.E.2d 476 (1967) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Sustaining of actionable injury is condition precedent to action on policy. - Sustaining of actionable injury was, under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12, the only condition precedent to an action on the policy. When actionable injury was alleged in an action on the policy, the terms of the statute were complied with, and the petitioner upon proper proof of the injury is entitled to recover on the policy. The cause of action was not on the tort, but on the contract by alleging the occurrence of the condition precedent required by the statute, which statute was an integral part of the contract of insurance. Great Am. Indem. Co. v. Vickers, 183 Ga. 233 , 188 S.E. 24 (1936) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612); Addington v. Ohio S. Express, Inc., 118 Ga. App. 770 , 165 S.E.2d 658 (1968);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Proof required for direct action against insurer. - Proof that a policy was filed and approved by the Public Service Commission was required in order to maintain a direct action against the insurer of a contract motor carrier. Canal Ins. Co. v. Farmer, 222 Ga. App. 539 , 474 S.E.2d 732 (1996) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

In a case arising from an automobile crash, while former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 provided a direct action against an insurer of a common carrier, and served as a sort of surety bond to protect the public, a plaintiff's claim against the insurer of the other driver's employer failed because the plaintiff did not plead that the employer was a common carrier or that the insurer's policy had been filed with, much less approved by, the Public Service Commission. Lee v. Huttig Bldg. Prods., F. Supp. 2d (M.D. Ga. Sept. 16, 2005) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Applicability and interstate commerce. - In an action against the driver of a tractor-trailer and the driver's insurer, when neither a bond nor an insurance policy had been filed with the commission and the driver was not registered with the commission as a motor carrier, no direct action against the insurer was allowable. Lockhart v. Southern Gen. Ins. Co., 231 Ga. App. 311 , 498 S.E.2d 161 (1998) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Direct action statute did not apply to plaintiff's cause of action because the action arose out of interstate commerce, and even if the statute had applied, the plaintiff would not have been able to prove that the Public Service Commission had approved the insurance policy, a prerequisite to a direct action under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12. Dundee Mills, Inc. v. John Deere Ins. Co., 248 Ga. App. 39 , 545 S.E.2d 604 (2001) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

For recovery, necessary to show injury was caused by negligence of principal or agents. - In order to authorize a recovery in an action brought on a bond or insurance policy it would be necessary to show that the injury complained of was caused by the negligence of the principal in the bond, the principal's agents, or representatives, in the operation of the described automobile. Zachry v. City Council, 78 Ga. App. 746 , 52 S.E.2d 339 (1949) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Mere proof of liability coverage insufficient. - Since former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 created a direct pre-judgment cause of action in contract against an insurer and did not merely provide a statutory exception to the procedural prohibition against joinder of a liability insurer as a party defendant in a tort action against its insured, it follows that mere proof that the allegedly negligent tortfeasor had liability coverage was not necessarily sufficient proof of the direct cause of action against the insurer itself. Such proof would fail to show that the injured party was a third-party beneficiary who had a direct pre-judgment cause of action in contract against the insurer itself. Glenn McClendon Trucking Co. v. Williams, 183 Ga. App. 508 , 359 S.E.2d 351 (1987), cert. denied, 183 Ga. App. 906 , 359 S.E.2d 351 (1988) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Submission of policy limits to the jury. - Since the plaintiff in a motor collision suit against a common carrier and the carrier's insurer can prove the limits of coverage so as to sustain a judgment against the insurer without submitting the policy limits to the jury and since submission of the policy limits to the jury tended to prejudice the defendants, the Supreme Court of Georgia concluded that the objection of a defendant common carrier and the carrier's insurer to the submission of policy limits to the jury should have been sustained. Unless it was necessary, the amount of insurance coverage should not be placed before the jury. Carolina Cas. Ins. Co. v. Davalos, 246 Ga. 746 , 272 S.E.2d 702 (1980) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Status as "carrier." - Step van used exclusively by the van's owner to transport the owner's own products, and which was never held out for hire to the public and was not used or hired by the public for the transportation of either goods or people, was neither a common nor contract carrier as those terms were defined in O.C.G.A. Title 46 and used in the direct action provisions contained in former O.C.G.A. §§ 46-7-12 and 46-7-58. National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Sorrow, 202 Ga. App. 517 , 414 S.E.2d 731 (1992) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Prescribed forms. - Summary judgment for the insurer was reversed, and the amended version of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12(c), requiring a common carrier to file prescribed forms evidencing insurance, was applied retroactively, permitting a direct action against the insurer by an injured party for injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident, despite the failure to file the prescribed form evidencing the insurance policy. Devore v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 257 Ga. App. 7 , 570 S.E.2d 87 (2002) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

3. Joinder Issues

Joint action against carrier and insurer permissible. - Person who had been injured by the alleged negligence of the driver of a motor common carrier truck can maintain a joint action at law against the motor common carrier and the indemnity company from which such motor common carrier had procured a policy of indemnity insurance, and such action was not controlled by the general rule that an action ex delicto cannot be joined with an action ex contractu. LaHatte v. Walton, 53 Ga. App. 6 , 184 S.E. 742 (1936) (decided under Ga. L. 1929, pp. 293, 297, § 5).

Former Code 1933, § 68-612 permitted a motor carrier and the carrier's insurance company to be joined in the same action as defendants. Har-Pen Truck Lines v. Mills, 378 F.2d 705 (5th Cir. 1967) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Responsibility of insurance carrier. - Insurer was neither a joint tortfeasor nor responsible for the carrier's negligent conduct under a theory of vicarious liability; consequently, plaintiff's attempts to impute the carrier's negligence to the insurer were improper and prejudicial, as was the argument that the jury should base the jury's award on the insurer's treatment of plaintiff independent of the collision. Myrick v. Stephanos, 220 Ga. App. 520 , 472 S.E.2d 431 (1996) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Joinder not required. - While former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 permited joinder of the carrier and the insurer in a suit by a member of the public who was injured by the negligence of a carrier, it did not require it. Griffin v. Johnson, 157 Ga. App. 657 , 278 S.E.2d 422 (1981) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Purpose of joinder. - Erroneous dismissal of motor carrier's liability insurer did not entitle accident victim to a new trial on liability and damages; provision allowing joinder of insurer was not intended to enhance the value of a third party's claim for damages; plaintiff had no separate claim against a motor carrier's insurer; the purpose of permitting joinder of the insurer in a claim against the carrier was to further the policy of the former Motor Carrier Act to protect the public against injuries caused by the carrier's negligence. Andrews v. Yellow Freight Sys., 262 Ga. 476 , 421 S.E.2d 712 (1992) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Relationship to other statutes. - Insurer failed to meet the insurer's burden of showing that a company the insurer insured was not a "motor common carrier" or a "motor contract carrier" under former O.C.G.A. § 46-1-1(9)(C) when a tractor-trailer the company owned was involved in an accident because, although the insurer showed that the tractor-trailer was being used to haul timber products when the accident occurred, the insurer did not show that the tractor-trailer was used exclusively for that purpose, and the trial court erred when the court granted the insurer's motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's personal injury claims. Jarrard v. Clarendon Nat'l Ins. Co., 267 Ga. App. 594 , 600 S.E.2d 689 (2004) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Joinder of insurer permitted but no limitation on amount of damages pled. - Former Code 1933, § 68-612 allowed the commission to fix the amount of bond or insurance coverage required of a carrier and the statute allowed a plaintiff to join as a party the insurance carrier who had issued a policy to meet the coverage requirement. However, when an insurer was joined as a party in an action against a carrier, the section did not limit the amount of damages which can be pled against the insurer to the minimum coverage required of carriers by the commission. Herring v. Rabun Trucking Co., 147 Ga. App. 713 , 250 S.E.2d 167 (1978) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Existence of approved policy necessary for joinder. - Unless the applicability of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 was shown by evidence of the existence of a policy issued with the approval of the Public Service Commission, the general rule, that an insurer may not be joined as a party defendant with the insurer's insured when there had been no judgment previously obtained against the insured, was applicable. Glenn McClendon Trucking Co. v. Williams, 183 Ga. App. 508 , 359 S.E.2d 351 (1987), cert. denied, 183 Ga. App. 906 , 359 S.E.2d 351 (1988) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Joinder for out-of-state collision. - Joinder was not prohibited merely because a collision occurred on a highway in another state. Johnson v. Woodard, 208 Ga. App. 41 , 429 S.E.2d 701 (1993) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Joinder of interstate carrier. - Insurer of motor carrier was joined in an action against a carrier operating under a certificate of convenience issued by the state and who was required to be, or could have been sued in Georgia. Johnson v. Woodard, 208 Ga. App. 41 , 429 S.E.2d 701 (1993) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

When joinder of motor carrier's insurer was authorized. - In actions against a motor carrier, required by former Code 1933, § 68-612 to file such bond or insurance with the commission, joinder of the motor carrier's insurer was authorized, regardless of whether the carrier was operating in interstate or intrastate commerce at the time of the injury. Harper Motor Lines v. Roling, 218 Ga. 812 , 130 S.E.2d 817 (1963) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Effect of concession to liability. - In a suit arising from a motor vehicle accident, when an insurance company provided liability insurance coverage for a tractor-trailer unit, the insurance company was not entitled to summary judgment on the grounds that the company's admission of liability under the company's insurance contract removed the company from the purview of the direct action statutes because, once the insurance company was joined under the direct action statutes, the insurance company had to remain in the case until final judgment or until the judgment was later dismissed by the plaintiff or the court. McGill v. Am. Trucking & Transp., Ins. Co., 77 F. Supp. 3d 1261 (N.D. Ga. 2015).

Motor carrier not exempt. - Insurer was properly joined in action against transportation company when the truck involved in the accident was registered as a motor carrier and at times hauled loads which were not exempt despite the truck's exempt cargo of produce at the time of the accident. Smith v. Commercial Transp., Inc., 220 Ga. App. 866 , 470 S.E.2d 446 (1996) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

In a wrongful death case, a motor carrier's insurer was subject to direct suit under the direct action statute, former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12(c). The exemption for motor vehicles used exclusively to carry dairy or agricultural products, former O.C.G.A. § 46-1-1(9)(C)(x), did not apply because the insured used a tractor to haul other products besides logs, although the insured hauled logs exclusively in the weeks prior to the accident. Occidental Fire & Cas. Co. of N.C. v. Johnson, 302 Ga. App. 677 , 691 S.E.2d 589 (2010) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Joinder not authorized. - Truck which was engaged exclusively in the transportation of potting soil was not a "motor common carrier" and former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12(e) did not, therefore, authorize joinder of the truck's insurer as a defendant in a suit against the insured. National Indem. Co. v. Tatum, 193 Ga. App. 698 , 388 S.E.2d 896 (1989) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Truck which was engaged exclusively in the transportation of gravel, crushed stone, plant mix road material or road base materials was not a "motor common carrier" and former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12(e) did not, therefore, afford plaintiff the right to join the truck's insurer as a defendant in a suit against the insured. Bailey v. Occidental Fire & Cas. Co., 193 Ga. App. 710 , 388 S.E.2d 899 (1989) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Although former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 provided for joinder of an insurer when that insurer had potential liability under an insurance policy, the statute did not create a cause of action against an insurer which, under the terms of the insurer's policy, cannot be liable with respect to the accident in question. McMillon v. Empire Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 209 Ga. App. 378 , 433 S.E.2d 429 (1993) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Injured person could not join a motor carrier's insurer in an action against the carrier since the carrier was not registered in Georgia and had not filed an insurance policy with the commission. Caudill v. Strickland, 230 Ga. App. 644 , 498 S.E.2d 81 (1998) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

When joinder of parties not permissible. - In the absence of statutory provisions to the contrary, an insurance company, issuing an ordinary indemnity policy, cannot be joined as a party defendant with a tortfeasor in order to "fix the liability" of the insurance company. Arnold v. Walton, 205 Ga. 606 , 54 S.E.2d 424 (1949) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

No joinder of defendant not in privity with insurance company when carrier and company joined. - When a motor carrier and the carrier's insurance company were joined as defendants, no other defendant may be joined who was not in privity with the insurance company. Har-Pen Truck Lines v. Mills, 378 F.2d 705 (5th Cir. 1967) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

No joinder of insurer in action against carrier for injuries caused in another state. - Insurance carrier may not be joined under former Code 1933, § 68-612 as a defendant with a motor common carrier licensed to do intrastate and interstate business in an action brought in this state by a passenger on an interstate journey for personal injuries caused by the carrier's negligence in another state. Rogers v. Atlantic Greyhound Corp., 50 F. Supp. 662 (S.D. Ga. 1943).

Petition not subject to dismissal on misjoinder grounds. - Petition for damages joining as defendants a common carrier for hire by motor truck, the truck's driver, and the truck's insurer, under former Code 1933, § 68-612, was not subject to demurrer (now motion to dismiss) on the ground that there was a misjoinder of parties and causes of action. Pilot Freight Carriers, Inc. v. Parks, 80 Ga. App. 137 , 55 S.E.2d 746 (1949) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

No misjoinder when action against proper parties. - It being alleged that the driver of the motor vehicle was engaged in carrying out the duties of the driver's employment as a driver for common carrier at the time of the accident, and it appearing that the casualty company was the insurance carrier of the motor carrier, the action was properly brought against the three named defendants, and there was no misjoinder. Atlanta-Asheville Motor Express v. Dooley, 78 Ga. App. 265 , 50 S.E.2d 822 (1948) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Construction of joinder provisions. - The 1937 amendment (Ga. L. 1937, p. 730) to the original statute must also be strictly construed, and it does not expressly or otherwise provide for the joining in one action of an action ex contractu against an insurance company and an action in tort against a third person in no way connected with the insurance company. Reeves v. McHan, 78 Ga. App. 305 , 50 S.E.2d 787 (1948) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

4. Other Procedural Issues

Suing insurance carrier first despite policy provisions to contrary. - Insurance carrier could be sued without first obtaining judgment against common carrier notwithstanding provisions in the policy to the contrary. Maryland Cas. Co. v. Dobson, 57 Ga. App. 594 , 196 S.E. 300 (1938) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Bringing suit against carrier's insurer. - Member of public who was injured by negligence of motor common carrier need not obtain judgment against the carrier as condition precedent to bringing suit against carrier's insurer, any contractual agreement between the insurer and the carrier to the contrary notwithstanding. Griffin v. Johnson, 157 Ga. App. 657 , 278 S.E.2d 422 (1981) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Suit against insurer did not require joinder of motor carrier. - An action on the policy itself against the insurer of a motor carrier was cognizable as an independent suit without joinder of the motor carrier. Thomas v. Bobby Stevens Hauling Contractors, 165 Ga. App. 710 , 302 S.E.2d 585 (1983) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Insurer subject to action on policy by injured member of public directly. - Since bond or policy under former Code 1933, § 68-612 was given for the protection of the public, and the policy was one against liability, and since the intent and meaning of the statute permitted an action thereon jointly against the motor carrier and the surety on the bond or the insurer in the policy, the provisions of the section were read into the policy and supersede any provision therein to the contrary. Accordingly, the insurer was subject to action by an injured member of the public directly on the policy, without the necessity of first suing and obtaining judgment against the carrier. Great Am. Indem. Co. v. Durham, 54 Ga. App. 353 , 187 S.E. 891 (1936) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Joint or separate actions against parties. - All three parties - the driver, the carrier, and the insurance company - may be joined and any one of such parties may be sued alone and thereby bind the company for payment of eventual judgment. Spicer v. American Home Assurance Co., 292 F. Supp. 27 (N.D. Ga. 1967), aff'd, 402 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 946, 89 S. Ct. 1275 , 22 L. Ed. 2 d 479 (1969), commented on in 6 Ga. St. B.J. 225 (1969);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Breach of policy conditions may not defeat claims when actual notice to company of actions. - Under former Code 1933, § 68-612 a breach of the policy conditions between the insured and the company, may not defeat the public third-parties claims, when there was actual notice to the company of the actions. Spicer v. American Home Assurance Co., 292 F. Supp. 27 (N.D. Ga. 1967), aff'd, 402 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 946, 89 S. Ct. 1275 , 22 L. Ed. 2 d 479 (1969), commented on in 6 Ga. St. B.J. 225 (1969);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Insurer was absolutely liable for any unsatisfied judgment which may be obtained against the insurer's insured whether or not the insurer's insured breached the conditions of the policy. Seawheels, Inc. v. Bankers & Shippers Ins. Co., 175 Ga. App. 528 , 333 S.E.2d 650 (1985) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Bond or Indemnity Insurance

Filing of bond or indemnity insurance with commissioner required. - Former Code 1933, § 68-612 required a motor common carrier to file a bond or policy of indemnity insurance with commission to protect the public against injury caused by its negligence, and permits suit against the motor carrier and the insurer in the same action. Gates v. L.G. DeWitt, Inc., 528 F.2d 405 (5th Cir.), modified, 532 F.2d 1052 (5th Cir. 1976) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Named insured. - Trial court properly found that a corporation was the named insured, notwithstanding the policy's identification of the named insured as an individual, doing business as a trade name, as the insurer filed a certificate of insurance with the Georgia Public Service Commission pursuant to former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12(a) stating that the insurer had insured the corporation, doing business as the trade name. Hartford Cas. Ins. Co. v. Smith, 268 Ga. App. 224 , 603 S.E.2d 298 (2004) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Approved policy is in nature of substitute surety bond. - If the carrier's insurance policy was approved by the commission in accordance with former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12, the policy was in the nature of a substitute surety bond, and the insurer was absolutely liable for any loss occasioned by the insurer's insured, any provisions in the policy, or in any rider attached thereto, to the contrary notwithstanding. American Motorists Ins. Co. v. King Shrimp Co., 199 Ga. App. 847 , 406 S.E.2d 273 (1991) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Independent cause of action against insurer. - In addition to a suit in tort against a negligent motor carrier, former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 established an independent cause of action against the carrier's insurer on behalf of a member of the public injured by the carrier's negligence. Thomas v. Bobby Stevens Hauling Contractors, 165 Ga. App. 710 , 302 S.E.2d 585 (1983) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Purpose of Code section. - Purposes of former Code 1933, § 68-612 were to protect the members of the public who were injured by the operation of the common carrier's vehicles and the insurance contract may not defeat this public policy by conditions to which the state and public were not a party. This was a prerequisite to doing business in this state and on the state's highways either directly or by agent employees. Spicer v. American Home Assurance Co., 292 F. Supp. 27 (N.D. Ga. 1967), aff'd, 402 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 946, 89 S. Ct. 1275 , 22 L. Ed. 2 d 479 (1969), commented on in 6 Ga. St. B.J. 225 (1969);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Indemnity insurance policy was not for the benefit of the insured but for the sole benefit of those who may have a cause of action for damages for the negligence of the motor common carrier. Such a policy was in the nature of a substitute surety bond and created liability in the insurer regardless of the insured's breach of the conditions of the policy. Progressive Cas. Ins. Co. v. Bryant, 205 Ga. App. 164 , 421 S.E.2d 329 (1992) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Three classes of protection. - Former Code 1933, § 68-612 was designed to protect three classes against financial liability of motor common carriers to respond in damages for the negligent conduct of the business of motor common carriers. First, motor common carriers of passengers; second, motor common carriers of freight; and third, the public (when neither the relationship of carrier and passenger or carrier and shipper exists). American Cas. Co. v. Southern Stages, 70 Ga. App. 22 , 27 S.E.2d 227 (1943) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Protection of public is primary purpose of requiring bond or security. - Primary purpose of requiring a bond, policy of insurance, or other security as a condition to the operation of public service motor vehicles for hire was for the protection of the public, by assuring those who were injured, in person or property, through the negligent operation of such vehicles, compensation for the injuries or damages sustained. Spicer v. American Home Assurance Co., 292 F. Supp. 27 (N.D. Ga. 1967), aff'd, 402 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 946, 89 S. Ct. 1275 , 22 L. Ed. 2 d 479 (1969), commented on in 6 Ga. St. B.J. 225 (1969);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Bonds provided for are for benefit of public. - Bond or indemnity insurance was required for benefit of passengers and public; the passengers and the public being beneficiaries which the statute sought to protect and insure, the indemnity insurance policy required by former Code 1933, § 68-612 was one of insurance against liability, and not insurance against loss by common carrier. Laster v. Maryland Cas. Co., 46 Ga. App. 620 , 168 S.E. 128 (1933); LaHatte v. Walton, 53 Ga. App. 6 , 184 S.E. 742 (1936) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

According to the language and patent intendment of former Code 1933, § 68-612, the bonds provided for herein are solely for the benefit of those persons who by reason of the negligence of the carrier, the carrier's servants or agents, may have a cause of action for damages, such bonds being "for the benefit of and subject to action thereon by any person who shall sustain actionable injury or loss protected thereby." Great Am. Indem. Co. v. Vickers, 183 Ga. 233 , 188 S.E. 24 (1936) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Definition of indemnity insurance policy. - Policy of insurance under former Code 1933, § 68-612 was not one of indemnity against loss as that term was generally understood; but was a direct and primary obligation to any person who shall sustain actionable injury or loss by reason of the negligence of the insured in the operation of the insured's motor vehicles insured under the policy. The sustaining of actionable injury was, under the statute, the only condition precedent to an action on the policy. Great Am. Indem. Co. v. Vickers, 183 Ga. 233 , 188 S.E. 24 (1936); Shapiro v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 234 F. Supp. 41 (N.D. Ga. 1963), aff'd, 337 F.2d 237 (5th Cir. 1964); Spicer v. American Home Assurance Co., 292 F. Supp. 27 (N.D. Ga. 1967), aff'd, 402 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 946, 89 S. Ct. 1275 , 22 L. Ed. 2 d 479 (1969), commented on in 6 Ga. St. B.J. 225 (1969);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Indemnity and not liability insurance required. - If the insurer issued a single policy for more than the statutory minimum, the plaintiff suing under former Code 1933, § 68-612 was not limited to a judgment against that insurer for the minimum. The insurance required by that section was indemnity insurance, not liability insurance. It would create multiple litigation to require the plaintiffs to recover from the indemnitor the statutory minimum in the initial action and file later actions for excess amounts. Herring v. Rabun Trucking Co., 147 Ga. App. 713 , 250 S.E.2d 167 (1978) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Former statute referred to direct liability policy. - In spite of the use of the phrase "indemnity insurance," former Code 1933, § 68-612 referred to a direct liability policy rather than indemnity in the true sense. Spicer v. American Home Assurance Co., 292 F. Supp. 27 (N.D. Ga. 1967), aff'd, 402 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 946, 89 S. Ct. 1275 , 22 L. Ed. 2 d 479 (1969) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Policy issued is policy of insurance against liability. - Insurance policy issued to a motor common carrier, with the approval of the commission, under the provisions of former Code 1933, § 68-612, which provided that the policy was one "for the protection of the public against injuries proximately caused by the negligence of such motor carrier, its servants or agents," was a policy of insurance against liability, any provisions in the policy, or in any rider attached thereto, to the contrary notwithstanding, and an action may be brought upon the policy directly against the insurer by any member of the public, for the recovery of damages proximately caused by the negligence of the motor common carrier in the operation of one of the carrier's motor trucks along a public highway of this state, without first having obtained a judgment establishing liability for such negligence against the motor carrier, and without making the motor carrier a party to the action. Great Am. Indem. Co. v. Vickers, 53 Ga. App. 101 , 185 S.E. 150 , aff'd, 183 Ga. 233 , 188 S.E. 24 (1936) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Extent of coverage of security bond or policy. - Security bond or policy ordinarily covers only injuries or damages which result from the careless, negligent, or improper operation of the motor carrier's vehicles. Spicer v. American Home Assurance Co., 292 F. Supp. 27 (N.D. Ga. 1967), aff'd, 402 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 946, 89 S. Ct. 1275 , 22 L. Ed. 2 d 479 (1969), commented on in 6 Ga. St. B.J. 225 (1969);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Obligations of former Code 1933, § 68-612 clearly superseded any policy provision. Spicer v. American Home Assurance Co., 292 F. Supp. 27 (N.D. Ga. 1967), aff'd, 402 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 946, 89 S. Ct. 1275 , 22 L. Ed. 2 d 479 (1969), commented on in 6 Ga. St. B.J. 225 (1969);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

No impairment of public's statutory rights by stipulations between parties to security contract. - Under the bond or policy, the public has statutory rights which cannot be impaired by stipulations between the immediate parties to the security contract. Spicer v. American Home Assurance Co., 292 F. Supp. 27 (N.D. Ga. 1967), aff'd, 402 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 946, 89 S. Ct. 1275 , 22 L. Ed. 2 d 479 (1969), commented on in 6 Ga. St. B.J. 225 (1969);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Incorporation of provisions into insurance policy. - Policy with a rider upon the policy placed there by the commission pursuant to the provisions of former Code 1933, § 68-612 becomes a statutory policy, and the provisions of that section respecting the character of the policy and the liability of the parties, were read into the policy and supersede any provisions, if any, to the contrary, either in the policy or in the rider attached thereto. Great Am. Indem. Co. v. Vickers, 53 Ga. App. 101 , 185 S.E. 150 , aff'd, 183 Ga. 233 , 188 S.E. 24 (1936) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Incorporation of provisions into bond filed. - Provision that the bond given by the carrier must be for the protection of the public against injuries proximately caused by the carriers' negligence, must, when the bond was approved by the commission as required by former Code 1933, § 68-612 as a condition precedent to the issuance of the certificate to the carrier, be read into the bond and become one of the provisions thereof, anything in the bond or riders attached thereto to the contrary notwithstanding. Great Am. Indem. Co. v. Vickers, 53 Ga. App. 101 , 185 S.E. 150 , aff'd, 183 Ga. 233 , 188 S.E. 24 (1936) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Bond or insurance provisions contrary to former statute without force or effect. - Bond or policy of indemnity insurance given under former Code 1933, § 68-612 must conform to its requirements, and a provision contained therein contrary to such requirements was without force and effect. Maryland Cas. Co. v. Dobson, 57 Ga. App. 594 , 196 S.E. 300 (1938) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Substitution of indemnity policy by carrier. - When a carrier is allowed to substitute a policy of indemnity insurance, such policy must substantially conform to all of the provisions of the statute relating to bonds. Seawheels, Inc. v. Bankers & Shippers Ins. Co., 175 Ga. App. 528 , 333 S.E.2d 650 (1985) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Excess insurer should have been dismissed from driver's action against insured. - Because the excess insurer's insurance policy establishes that it provided only excess insurance to the insured, and because excess insurers were not proper parties to a plaintiff's action against an insured, the trial court erred when the court denied the insurer's motion to dismiss the excess insurer from the driver's suit against the insured. RLI Insurance Co. v. Duncan, 345 Ga. App. 876 , 815 S.E.2d 558 (2018).

Legislative intent that insurer stand in shoes of motor common carrier. - It was the legislative intent in passing former Code 1933, § 68-612 that the insurer carrier was to stand in the shoes of the motor common carrier and be liable in any instance of negligence when the motor common carrier was liable. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fleet Transp. Co., 116 Ga. App. 606 , 158 S.E.2d 476 (1967) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

When judgment creditor may recover. - One who obtains a judgment against the insured and then seeks to enforce the judgment against the insurer occupies a like status to the insured; one derives one's rights under the policy through the insured, and one is entitled to recover under the policy only if it appears that all conditions precedent have been complied with. Commercial Union Ins. Co. v. Bradley Co., 186 Ga. App. 610 , 367 S.E.2d 820 (1988) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Liability of surety or insurer was joint and several with the liability of the owner or operator of the motor vehicle. Spicer v. American Home Assurance Co., 292 F. Supp. 27 (N.D. Ga. 1967), aff'd, 402 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 946, 89 S. Ct. 1275 , 22 L. Ed. 2 d 479 (1969), commented on in 6 Ga. St. B.J. 225 (1969);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Liability of insurance carrier extends to existence of relation of common carrier and passenger. - When an indemnity insurance policy was executed under the provisions of former Code 1933, § 68-612, containing the words, "resulting from the negligent operation, maintenance or use of motor vehicles," such words would not be construed to limit liability for negligence of the driver of a passenger vehicle while such vehicle was in motion only. This being a statutory provision, the provisions of the policy were superseded by the terms of the statute. The endorsement of the commission of such words in a rider attached to the policy was construed to mean that the liability of the insurance carrier extended to and included injuries received by a passenger, caused by the negligence of such motor carrier, the carrier's servants or agents, during the existence of the relation of common carrier and passenger, and until such relation was terminated in some manner provided by law. American Cas. Co. v. Southern Stages, 70 Ga. App. 22 , 27 S.E.2d 227 (1943) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Liability of insurance carrier not limited to negligence of carrier only when vehicle in motion. - Former Code 1933, § 68-612 nowhere provided that the liability of the insurance carrier be limited to the negligence of the motor common carrier, the carrier's servants or agents, only when the vehicle was in motion. American Cas. Co. v. Southern Stages, 70 Ga. App. 22 , 27 S.E.2d 227 (1943) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

No insurance required for carrier's vehicles while being used outside employment. - Plain reading of the statute will not support a holding that a carrier must provide individual liability coverage for the carrier's servants or agents while those agents are operating the carrier's vehicles outside the scope of their employment. Great W. Cas. Co. v. Norris, 734 F.2d 697 (11th Cir. 1984) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Liability of insurance carrier on policy is ancillary to that of common carrier. - While the "cause of action" (or statement of a claim) was not on the tort, nevertheless, the tort constituted the real cause of action, and the liability of the insurance carrier on the carrier's policy, issued as required by law, was merely ancillary to that of the common carrier. Addington v. Ohio S. Express, Inc., 118 Ga. App. 770 , 165 S.E.2d 658 (1968) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Insurance carrier may not contract for less liability than imposed by statute. - Under former Code 1933, § 68-612, it was the legislative intent that the insurance carrier was to stand in the shoes of the motor common carrier of passengers and be liable to the passenger in any instance of negligence when the motor common carrier was liable. The statute nowhere remotely expressed or implied that when an insurance carrier undertook for hire to stand sponsor for the negligent acts of a motor common carrier of passengers under the general law governing this relationship such insurance carrier may contract for a less liability than that which the statute imposed upon the motor common carrier itself. To give the statute such a construction would be to render the statute subservient to the conditions of the insurance policy and not the insurance policy subservient to the provisions of the statute. American Cas. Co. v. Southern Stages, 70 Ga. App. 22 , 27 S.E.2d 227 (1943) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Nothing in former Code 1933, § 68-612 limited direct liability of insurer of carrier, when joined as a defendant in an action against a carrier to the minimum bond or insurance coverage required of carriers by the commission. Herring v. Rabun Trucking Co., 147 Ga. App. 713 , 250 S.E.2d 167 (1978) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

No liability of insurer when insured carrier not liable. - It was not the purpose of former Code 1933, § 68-612 to make an insurance company, which had issued the carrier a policy of indemnity insurance in lieu of a bond, liable when the insured carrier itself was not liable. Robbins v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 113 Ga. App. 393 , 148 S.E.2d 172 (1966) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

No actionable injury established as a result of insured's indemnification. - In a negligence suit arising from a tractor trailer collision, a trial court erred by failing to grant summary judgment to a transfer company's insurer because an indemnity agreement between the suing driver and the transfer company made it impossible for the suing driver to obtain a judgment against the transfer company; therefore, there was no actionable injury, pursuant to former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12, for which the transfer company's insurer could be held liable. Coleman v. B-H Transfer Co., 290 Ga. App. 503 , 659 S.E.2d 880 (2008), aff'd, 284 Ga. 624 , 669 S.E.2d 141 (2008) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Liability probably does not extend to punitive damages. - Liability under former Code 1933, § 68-612 would probably not extend to punitive damages. As a factual probability, attorneys fees would logically fall into the same classification as being uncollectible from the company. Spicer v. American Home Assurance Co., 292 F. Supp. 27 (N.D. Ga. 1967), aff'd, 402 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 946, 89 S. Ct. 1275 , 22 L. Ed. 2 d 479 (1969) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Duty of issuer of liability surety bond. - Liability surety bond, when not supplanted by an insurance policy, was similar to a motor vehicle liability insurance policy in that the bond also provides protection to the general public for damage to person or property arising from negligent acts or omissions of the motor carrier for whom it was issued. The issuer of the bond was obligated to provide the minimum no-fault coverage afforded under former O.C.G.A. § 33-34-4 , notwithstanding any provisions of the contract or bond. Homick v. American Cas. Co., 202 Ga. App. 831 , 415 S.E.2d 669 , cert. denied, 202 Ga. App. 906 , 415 S.E.2d 669 (1992) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Liability of insurance carrier limited. - Liability of an insurer of a motor common carrier for an actionable loss caused by a vehicle not specifically described in the insurance policy was limited to the minimum limits established by rule of the commission. Ross v. Stephens, 269 Ga. 266 , 496 S.E.2d 705 (1998) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Bond or indemnity insurance. - Minimum compulsory liability limits established by a rule of the Public Service Commission were applicable to personal injury claims asserted by passengers in a tractor-trailer, when the passengers sought recovery up to minimum limits of $100,000/$300,000 as established by the rule; the claims were not subject to the lower limits established by former O.C.G.A. § 40-9-2(5)(A) (see now O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11(a)(1)(A)), even though the tractor-trailer was a freight carrier and not a passenger carrier. Guinn Transp., Inc. v. Canal Ins. Co., 234 Ga. App. 235 , 507 S.E.2d 144 (1998) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Notice of cancellation. - When a Form E endorsement filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission provided that an insurance company had issued the insurer's insured an insurance policy and the policy lapsed before an incident giving rise to liability on the part of the insured and before proper notice of cancellation was given to the Commission, the insurer's liability to a third party injured by the insured was based on the policy itself as opposed to liability based on the minimum coverage imposed by law. Progressive Preferred Ins. Co. v. Ramirez, 277 Ga. 392 , 588 S.E.2d 751 (2003) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Failure to file notice of cancellation. - Insurer's failure to file a notice of cancellation with the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicle Safety (DMVS) did not render the insurer liable under the direct action statute, former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12, because the former insurer had never obtained a permit of authority under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-3 to operate as a carrier in Georgia, the insurer could not have filed either a certificate of insurance or a notice of cancellation with the DMVS. Kolencik v. Stratford Ins. Co., F. Supp. 2d (N.D. Ga. Nov. 28, 2005) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

If state court lacked jurisdiction over declaratory issues, it should transfer to superior court. - In an injured driver's action against a motor carrier and its insurer in a county's state court, in which the insurer filed a counterclaim and cross-claim for a declaratory judgment as to its duties and obligations under the insurance policy, if the state court determined that it lacked jurisdiction over questions raised in the insurer's motion for summary judgment, it was error to deny summary judgment, and the state court should instead have transferred the action to the superior court pursuant to Ga. Unif. Transfer R. T-4. Nat'l Indem. Co. v. Lariscy, 352 Ga. App. 446 , 835 S.E.2d 307 (2019).

Interstate Carriers

Section applicable to interstate carriers. - Subsection (e) of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 applied to interstate as well as intrastate carriers; thus, a motorist injured in an accident with a tractor trailer owned by a motor carrier engaged solely in interstate commerce could maintain a direct action against the insurer of the motor carrier. Williams v. Southern Drayage, Inc., 213 Ga. App. 895 , 446 S.E.2d 758 (1994) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Carrier registered with the Public Service Commission was not exempt from subsection (e) of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 simply because it engaged only in interstate commerce. Additionally, the federal law did not preempt the Georgia definition of motor carrier for purposes of a personal injury action against the carrier. Xpress Cargo Sys. v. McMath, 225 Ga. App. 32 , 481 S.E.2d 885 (1997) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Section inapplicable to causes arising out of interstate commerce. - Although former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12 authorized a shipper to bring a direct action against the insurer who provided liability coverage to a motor common carrier, the section did not apply to a cause of action which arose out of interstate commerce. Commercial Union Ins. Co. v. Bradley Co., 186 Ga. App. 610 , 367 S.E.2d 820 (1988) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

No conflict with congressional regulation of motor carriers. - Former Code 1933, § 68-612 did not conflict with congressional regulation of motor carriers engaged in interstate commerce, but was a reasonable and valid requirement imposed upon those who seek to do an intrastate motor carrier business in Georgia. Acme Freight Lines v. Blackmon, 131 F.2d 62 (5th Cir. 1942) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act did not preempt statute. - Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c), prohibited a state from enacting or enforcing a law or regulation related to "a price, route, or service" of any motor carrier, but did not invalidate insurance requirements imposed by the statute and Public Service Commission Rule 1-8-1-.01 as the act did not restrict a state's authority to regulate motor carriers with regard to minimum amounts of financial responsibility relating to insurance requirements. Driskell v. Empire Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 249 Ga. App. 56 , 547 S.E.2d 360 (2001) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Section designed to protect public. - Former Code 1933, § 68-612 was designed to protect the "public" whose safety may be endangered by the carrier's operations as distinguished from those having an interstate relationship. It cannot be assumed that the state attempted to enact legislation having an extraterritorial effect by applying to interstate passengers and cargoes. Rogers v. Atlantic Greyhound Corp., 50 F. Supp. 662 (S.D. Ga. 1943) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12).

Provision allowing for direct actions against insurance carriers applied to interstate carriers. - Proper interpretation of the provision in former Code 1933, § 68-612, allowing for direct actions against insurance carriers, was that the statute applied to interstate carriers as well as intrastate carriers. Kimberly v. Bankers & Shippers Ins. Co., 490 F. Supp. 93 (N.D. Ga. 1980) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Persons injured by negligence of carrier were entitled to rely upon required protection of Code section. - When people were injured upon the highways of this state by the negligence of a carrier, the individuals were properly entitled to rely upon the protection required by former Code 1933, § 68-612, and this was true whether the particular vehicle was at the time of the accident engaged in interstate or intrastate commerce. Acme Freight Lines v. Blackmon, 131 F.2d 62 (5th Cir. 1942) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under former Code 1933, § 68-612, which was subsequently repealed but was succeeded by provisions in this Code section, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Purpose of Code section. - It was the purpose of former Code 1933, § 68-612 to protect the public against injury which may be caused by the negligence of the motor common carrier, the carrier's servants or agents. 1948-49 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 585 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

Commission had discretion concerning bond or indemnity insurance. - Former Code 1933, § 68-612 placed a discretion in the commission as to whether or not a bond or a policy of indemnity insurance shall be required of carriers coming under its jurisdiction. 1948-49 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 585 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-612).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 223 et seq., 286.

ALR. - Validity of municipal ordinance requiring indemnity insurance as condition of operating taxicab, 95 A.L.R. 1224 .

Territorial coverage of motor carrier's public liability policy required by statute or ordinance as coextensive with area of authorized operation, 154 A.L.R. 520 .

Liability of motor carrier for injuries to passengers from accident occasioned by blowout or other failure of tire, 44 A.L.R.2d 835.

Owning, leasing, or otherwise engaging in business of furnishing services for taxicabs as basis of tort liability for acts of taxi driver under respondeat superior doctrine, 8 A.L.R.3d 818.

40-1-113. Transportation contracts limiting liability.

  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Motor carrier transportation contract" means a contract, agreement, or understanding covering:
      1. The transportation of property for compensation or hire by the motor carrier;
      2. Entrance on property by the motor carrier for the purpose of loading, unloading, or transporting property for compensation or hire; or
      3. A service incidental to activity described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of this paragraph, including, but not limited to, storage of property.

        Motor carrier transportation contract shall not include the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement administered by the Intermodal Association of North America or other agreements providing for the interchange, use, or possession of intermodal chassis, containers, or other intermodal equipment.

    2. "Promisee" means the person promising to provide transportation of property and any agents, employees, servants, or independent contractors who are directly responsible to such person but shall not include a motor carrier party to a motor carrier transportation contract with such person and such motor carrier's agents, employees, servants, or independent contractors directly responsible to such motor carrier.
  2. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a provision, clause, covenant, or agreement contained in, collateral to, or affecting a motor carrier transportation contract that purports to indemnify, defend, or hold harmless, or has the effect of indemnifying, defending, or holding harmless, the promisee from or against any liability for loss or damage resulting from the negligence or intentional acts or omissions of the promisee is against the public policy of this state and is void and unenforceable. (Code 1981, § 40-1-113 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12.1, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Failure to obtain permit had no impact on status as motor carrier of property. - Motor carrier's noncompliance with the carrier's responsibility to obtain a permit had no impact on the carrier's status as a Georgia "motor carrier of property" under former paragraph (8) of O.C.G.A. § 46-1-1 because while the failure to get a permit rendered the motor carrier in violation of the Act, that failure did not render the motor carrier any less a "motor carrier of property" under applicable law. Sapp v. Canal Ins. Co., 288 Ga. 681 , 706 S.E.2d 644 (2011) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12.1)

Policy triggers coverage, not technical filings with state. - Insurer was subject to a direct action under the former Georgia Motor Carrier Act, former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12.1(c), by third parties injured by virtue of the motor carrier's negligence, notwithstanding the carrier's failure to file a certificate of insurance as required under the Act; the statute was a clear expression of the legislature's intent to prevent insurers from insulating themselves from liability under the Motor Carrier Act by failing to comply with the Act's technical requirements, and the insurer's duty to the public stems from the Act as triggered through the insurance policy rather than from the insurer's filings with the state. Sapp v. Canal Ins. Co., 288 Ga. 681 , 706 S.E.2d 644 (2011) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12.1)

Insurer's attempt to reduce or negate obligations invalid. - Court of appeals erred in affirming an order granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment in the insurer's action seeking a declaration that a car accident involving a driver and a dump truck driver was not covered under the insurance policy the insurer issued to a motor carrier, which was the driver's employer, because the insurer was subject to a direct action under the former Georgia Motor Carrier Act, former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12.1(c), by third parties injured by virtue of the motor carrier's negligence since the motor carrier sought insurance coverage from the insurer, the insurer was on notice of the insurer's status as a motor carrier and of the insurer's need to obtain motor carrier coverage, and the motor carrier was not informed of nor otherwise had reason to believe that the policy fell short of the coverage the insurer was required by law to maintain; because any provisions in the insurance policy issued to the motor carrier that would serve to reduce or negate the insurer's obligations to the motoring public under the Act were void and of no effect, the radius-of-use limitation, which purported to exclude from coverage any incident occurring more than 50 miles from a city, was invalid, and the insurer was subject to liability up to the policy limit. Sapp v. Canal Ins. Co., 288 Ga. 681 , 706 S.E.2d 644 (2011) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-12.1)

40-1-114. Temporary emergency authority issued to carriers.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, in order to authorize the provision of passenger or household goods service for which there is an immediate and urgent need to a point or points, or within a territory, with respect to which there is no motor carrier service capable of meeting such need, upon receipt of an application for temporary emergency authority and upon payment of the appropriate fee as fixed by statute, the department may, in its discretion and without a hearing or other prior proceeding, grant to any person temporary motor carrier authority for such service. The order granting such authority shall contain the department's findings supporting its determination that there is an unmet immediate and urgent need for such service and shall contain such conditions as the commissioner finds necessary with respect to such authority. Emergency temporary motor carrier authority, unless suspended or revoked for good cause within such period, shall be valid for such time as the department shall specify but not for more than an aggregate of 30 days. Such authority shall in no case be renewed and shall create no presumption that corresponding permanent authority will be granted thereafter, except that, where a motor carrier granted temporary emergency motor carrier authority under the provisions of this Code section makes application during the period of said temporary emergency authority for permanent motor carrier authority corresponding to that authorized in its temporary emergency authority, the temporary emergency motor carrier authority will be extended to the finalization of the permanent authority application unless sooner suspended or revoked for good cause within the extended period.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-114 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under former Code 1933, § 68-611.1 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Prior application for certificate of public necessity not required. - Applicant for this authority is not required to first make application for certificate of public convenience and necessity. 1973 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 73-85 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-611.1).

Commission need not issue certificate of public necessity. - Commission need not issue certificate of public convenience and necessity to applicant for temporary authority. 1973 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 73-85 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-611.1).

Construction with former provisions. - Temporary emergency authority granted under former Code 1933, § 68-611.1 (see former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-13) was exception to general requirement of former Code 1933, § 68-604 (see former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-3) that no motor common carrier can operate without first obtaining a certificate. 1973 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 73-85 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-611.1).

40-1-115. Notice of discontinuance of route.

A motor carrier of passengers may discontinue its entire service on any route upon 30 days' published notice to be prescribed by the department, and thereupon its certificate therefor shall be canceled. A motor carrier of passengers may discontinue any part of its service on any route upon 30 days' published notice, subject, however, to the right of the department to withdraw its certificate for such route if, in the opinion of the commissioner, such diminished service is not adequate or is no longer compatible with the public interest.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-115 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-116. Additional taxation prohibited by localities.

No subdivision of this state, including cities, townships, or counties, shall levy any excise, license, or occupation tax of any nature, on the right of a motor carrier to operate equipment, or on the equipment, or on any incidents of the business of a motor carrier.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-116 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293, Ga. L. 1931, p. 199, § 18, former Code 1933, § 68-623, and former O.C.G.A. §§ 46-7-15 and 46-7-60, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

This Code section not violative of constitutional rights. - Former Code 1933, § 68-623 did not violate Ga. Const. 1976, Art. I, Sec. I, Para. I and Art. I, Sec. II, Para. III (see now Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. I, Para. I; Art. I, Sec. I, Para. II), which declared that protection to person and property was the paramount duty of government and shall be impartial and complete, and no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, except by due process of law. City of Albany v. Ader, 176 Ga. 391 , 168 S.E. 1 (1933) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-623); Mayor of Savannah v. V.C. Ellington Co., 177 Ga. 149 , 170 S.E. 38 (1933);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-623).

Former Code 1933, § 68-623 was not unconstitutional on grounds that the statute referred to more than one subject matter or contained matter different from what was expressed in the statute's title. City of Albany v. Ader, 176 Ga. 391 , 168 S.E. 1 (1933) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-623); Mayor of Savannah v. V.C. Ellington Co., 177 Ga. 149 , 170 S.E. 38 (1933); V.C. Ellington Co. v. City of Macon, 177 Ga. 541 , 170 S.E. 813 (1933) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-623);(decided under former Code 1933, § 68-623).

Private and common carriers for hire covered. - Former Code 1933, § 68-623 applied to both private carriers for hire and common carriers for hire, and a municipal road-use tax on these motor carriers was void. Mayor of Savannah v. V.C. Ellington Co., 177 Ga. 149 , 170 S.E. 38 (1933) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-623).

Reasonable classification exempts producer from prescribed fee. - Language "So long as the title remains in the producer" limited the operation of the statutory exemption to such an extent that the only property in the class mentioned which was exempted was property where the "title remains in the producer." This was a reasonable classification in favor of the producer, which will enable movement of the products over the highways so long as title remains in the producer without exaction of the prescribed fee. Aero Mayflower Transit Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 179 Ga. 431 , 176 S.E. 487 (1934), aff'd, 295 U.S. 285, 55 S. Ct. 709 , 79 L. Ed. 1439 (1935) (decided under Ga. L. 1931, p. 199, § 18).

Annual license fee not unreasonable or oppressive. - As the annual license fee was for the privilege for a use as extensive as the carrier wills that it shall be, there was nothing unreasonable or oppressive in the burden so imposed. Aero Mayflower Transit Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 295 U.S. 285, 55 S. Ct. 709 , 79 L. Ed. 1439 (1935) (decided under Ga. L. 1931, p. 199, § 18).

Exemption from municipal taxation covers incidents of carrier business. - Former Code 1933, § 68-623 set up an exemption of a motor common carrier from municipal taxation, not only on the carrier's equipment and the right to operate the equipment, but also on "any incidents of said motor carrier business." Acme Freight Lines v. City of Vidalia, 193 Ga. 334 , 18 S.E.2d 540 (1942) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-623).

"Incidents" of the business of a motor common carrier did not mean those things without which the business cannot be carried on. Such would be more properly classified as the business itself, rather than an incident thereof. Acme Freight Lines v. City of Vidalia, 193 Ga. 334 , 18 S.E.2d 540 (1942) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-623).

Incident of the business of a motor common carrier of freight would be something naturally associated as pertinent to such transportation and necessarily dependent upon it, but without which the business of transportation might nevertheless be carried on, i.e., the incidental operation would be necessarily dependent upon the transportation, but the business of transportation would not be necessarily dependent upon the incidental operation. Acme Freight Lines v. City of Vidalia, 193 Ga. 334 , 18 S.E.2d 540 (1942) (decided under Ga. L. 1931, p. 199, § 18).

Operation of service is incident of carrier's business within statute. - Operation by a motor common carrier, at a municipality lying on the carrier's route, of a truck to pick up and deliver freight which was to be or had been shipped from or to patrons at such municipality, was an incident of the carrier's business of transporting freight, within former Code 1933, § 68-623, and by virtue of that section it was exempt from local taxation. Acme Freight Lines v. City of Vidalia, 193 Ga. 334 , 18 S.E.2d 540 (1942) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-623).

Operation of motor common carrier in and around municipality not exempt. - Operation of a motor common carrier in and immediately around a municipality lying on the carrier's route of a pick-up and delivery service of freight that had been shipped or was to be shipped to or by patrons at the municipality, was a service, within the classification of an incident of the business of a motor common carrier, and the operation cannot be termed "local draying," such as was exempted from the operation of Ga. L. 1931, pp. 197 and 207, and to which the exemption from local taxation, under former Code 1933, § 68-602, would not apply. Acme Freight Lines v. City of Vidalia, 193 Ga. 334 , 18 S.E.2d 540 (1942) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-602).

City tax ordinance held invalid. - Taxing ordinance of city was invalid because it was in conflict with former Code 1933, § 68-623, it being evident that the General Assembly's purpose was to reserve to the state the exclusive right to tax common carrier. City of Albany v. Ader, 176 Ga. 391 , 168 S.E. 1 (1933) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-623).

City without power to pass tax ordinance contrary to statute. - In view of the provisions of subsection (d) of former Code 1933, § 68-623, the mayor and council of the City of Atlanta were without power to pass an ordinance imposing an occupational license tax of $300.00 for the operation of a bus terminal. Southeastern Greyhound Lines v. City of Atlanta, 177 Ga. 181 , 170 S.E. 43 (1933) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-623).

Entire municipal ordinance fails when repugnant to statute. - When a municipal corporation attempted to lay a charge indifferently against motor common carriers and motor carriers for hire other than common carriers for the use of the municipality's streets by such carriers, and the portion of the ordinance relating to common carriers was invalid because the ordinance was repugnant to state law, the entire ordinance will necessarily fail, since the objectionable portion as to common carriers was so connected with the general legislative scheme that, if it should be stricken out, effect could not be given to the intention of the mayor and council in adopting the ordinance. V.C. Ellington Co. v. City of Macon, 177 Ga. 541 , 170 S.E. 813 (1933) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-623).

Control of state over streets and highways of entire commonwealth is paramount and supreme. - Municipal ordinances which conflict with legislative enactments must yield to the superior authority of the state. Silence on the part of the state, while the state may concede for the time being to municipalities the control and regulation of the streets and highways within the corporate limits of a municipality, was no bar to the exercise of the supreme authority whenever the state sees fit, by legislative enactment, to exercise authority and control. Mayor of Savannah v. V.C. Ellington Co., 177 Ga. 149 , 170 S.E. 38 (1933) (decided under Ga. L. 1931, p. 199, § 18).

"Highway" construed. - Word "highways" as used in former Code 1933, § 68-623 included streets. Southeastern Greyhound Lines v. City of Atlanta, 177 Ga. 181 , 170 S.E. 43 (1933) (decided under Ga. L. 1931, p. 199, § 18).

Fees charged are in nature of tax for use of highways. - Fees charged motor carriers for certificate of public convenience and necessity and for the license of each vehicle are in the nature of a tax, justified in the reasonable amounts exacted, as recompense for the special use of the highways for the purpose of gain. Southern Motorways, Inc. v. Perry, 39 F.2d 145 (N.D. Ga. 1930) (decided under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293).

No right of interstate carrier to use highway without paying. - Interstate carrier had no better right than any other to use the state's improved highway without the state's consent, or without paying for the use. Johnson Transf. & Freight Lines v. Perry, 47 F.2d 900 (N.D. Ga. 1931) (decided under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293).

Regulation of use or roads by state. - State may license or refuse to license, may condition or charge for, the use of the state's improved roads, when the roads are turned from the roads' common uses and purposes to the carrier's business. Johnson Transf. & Freight Lines v. Perry, 47 F.2d 900 (N.D. Ga. 1931) (decided under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293).

Cited in Dixie Ohio Express Co. v. State Revenue Comm'n, 306 U.S. 72, 59 S. Ct. 435 , 83 L. Ed. 495 (1939); Benton Bros. Drayage & Storage Co. v. Mayor of Savannah, 219 Ga. 172 , 132 S.E.2d 196 (1963).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under former Code 1933, § 68-518, which was subsequently repealed but was succeeded by provisions in this Code section, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Lessor exempt from purchasing tags for vehicles leased to postal service. - Lessors relieved of liability of purchasing registration tags for vehicles leased to postal service, when said leases are longer than 30 days duration and the postal service has exclusive use of the vehicles during the lease periods; when the lessors regain the use of vehicles on the termination of the leases or before their termination, they will again be responsible for the purchase of registration tags for the vehicles. 1974 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U74-16 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-518).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, §§ 300, 305, 313.

ALR. - State regulation of carriers by motor vehicle as affected by interstate commerce clause, 47 A.L.R. 230 ; 49 A.L.R. 1203 ; 62 A.L.R. 52 ; 85 A.L.R. 1136 ; 109 A.L.R. 1245 ; 135 A.L.R. 1358 .

40-1-117. Registered agents of nonresident motor carrier; service; venue for cause action; vehicles excluded from motor carrier or contract carrier; covered farm vehicles.

  1. Each nonresident motor carrier shall, before any certificate or permit is issued to it under this part or at the time of registering as required by Code Section 40-2-140, designate and maintain in this state an agent or agents upon whom may be served all summonses or other lawful processes in any action or proceeding against such motor carrier growing out of its carrier operations; and service of process upon or acceptance or acknowledgment of such service by any such agent shall have the same legal force and validity as if duly served upon such nonresident carrier personally. Such designation shall be in writing, shall give the name and address of such agent or agents, and shall be filed in the office of the state revenue commissioner. Upon failure of any nonresident motor carrier to file such designation with the state revenue commissioner or to maintain such an agent in this state at the address given, such nonresident carrier shall be conclusively deemed to have designated the Secretary of State and his or her successors in office as such agent; and service of process upon or acceptance or acknowledgment of such service by the Secretary of State shall have the same legal force and validity as if duly served upon such nonresident carrier personally, provided that notice of such service and a copy of the process are immediately sent by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, by the Secretary of State or his or her successor in office to such nonresident carrier, if its address be known. Service of such process upon the Secretary of State shall be made by delivering to his or her office two copies of such process with a fee of $10.00.
  2. Except in those cases where the Constitution requires otherwise, any action against any resident or nonresident motor carrier for damages by reason of any breach of duty, whether contractual or otherwise, or for any violation of this article or of any order, decision, rule, regulation, direction, demand, or other requirement established by the state revenue commissioner may be brought in the county where the cause of action or some part thereof arose; and if the motor carrier or its agent shall not be found for service in the county where the action is instituted, a second original may be issued and service be made in any other county where the service can be made upon the motor carrier or its agent. The venue prescribed by this Code section shall be cumulative of any other venue provided by law.
  3. Except in those cases where the Constitution requires otherwise, for the purposes of venue only, any truck engaged exclusively in the transportation of agricultural or dairy products, or both, between farm, market, gin, warehouse, or mill shall not be classified as a motor common or contract carrier.
    1. As used in this subsection, the term "covered farm vehicle" means a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight, whichever is greater, of 26,000 pounds or less; or a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight that is greater than 26,000 pounds and which is traveling within the registered state or within 150 miles of the farm or ranch for which it is used. To qualify as a covered farm vehicle either type of motor vehicle listed in this paragraph must also be:
      1. Registered in this or another state;
      2. Operated by a farmer, rancher, or tenant under a crop share farm lease agreement or a family member or employee of a farmer, rancher, or crop share tenant;
      3. Used primarily for the transportation of farm supplies, crops, livestock, or farm machinery; and
      4. Not used in a for hire motor carrier operation; provided, however, that this requirement shall not apply to a motor vehicle operated under a tenant crop share agreement used primarily for transporting crops of the landlord.
    2. A covered farm vehicle is not a motor carrier; provided, however, that any motor vehicle required by federal law to be designated as either a covered farm vehicle or a motor carrier shall be so designated as required by federal law.
    3. A covered farm vehicle must be equipped with either a license plate or possess such other special designation issued by the state where such vehicle is registered and the license plate or special designation must indicate that such vehicle is a covered farm vehicle. (Code 1981, § 40-1-117 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, §§ 11, 12/HB 323.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date; provided, however, that Section 12 of this Act shall not be effective until January 1, 2014."

Law reviews. - For annual survey on business associations, see 70 Mercer L. Rev. 19 (2018). For annual survey on trial practice and procedure, see 70 Mercer L. Rev. 253 (2018). For annual survey on commercial transportation: a two-year survey, see 71 Mercer L. Rev. 39 (2019).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 68-618 and former O.C.G.A. §§ 46-7-17 and 46-7-62 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Strict construction. - Former Code 1933, § 68-618, being in derogation of the common law, will not be extended beyond the mode fixed by the legislature and shall be strictly and literally construed. Norris Candy Co. v. Dixie Hwy. Express, Inc., 102 Ga. App. 665 , 117 S.E.2d 250 (1960) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

The provisions of former Code 1933, § 68-618 as to service on nonresident motor carriers were in derogation of common law and were to be strictly construed. Record Truck Line v. Harrison, 109 Ga. App. 653 , 137 S.E.2d 65 , aff'd, 220 Ga. 289 , 138 S.E.2d 578 (1964) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

Former Code 1933, § 68-618, being in derogation of common-law and granting extraterritorial jurisdiction, must be strictly construed. Taylor v. Jones, 123 Ga. App. 476 , 181 S.E.2d 506 (1971) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

Code section was not mandatory. - Former Code 1933, § 68-618 was not to be construed as mandatory as respected the venue of a tort action against a motor common carrier being in the county in which the cause of action originated. De Loach v. Southeastern Greyhound Lines, 49 Ga. App. 662 , 176 S.E. 518 (1934) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

Applicability of former subsection (a). - Provisions of subsection (a) of former Code 1933, § 68-618 were applicable only to those situations in which the cause of action arose out of the carrier's operations in this state. Record Truck Line v. Harrison, 110 Ga. App. 520 , 139 S.E.2d 153 (1964) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618); Mathews v. Rail Express, Inc., 836 F. Supp. 873 (N.D. Ga. 1993);(decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-17).

Venue of personal injury action. - Even though a nonresident interstate motor common carrier was registered in Georgia and had a registered agent for service of process, venue of a personal injury action against the carrier and nonresident driver was proper only in the county in which the accident occurred, not where the carrier's registered office was maintained. Southern Drayage, Inc. v. Williams, 216 Ga. App. 721 , 455 S.E.2d 418 (1995) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-17).

Payment of money determines applicability of subsection (a). - In determining whether an entity is a "motor contract or common carrier" such that the substituted service provisions of subsection (a) of former O.C.G.A. §§ 46-7-17 and 46-7-62(a) applied, the inquiry must focus on the payment of money for the transportation of the goods or people. Ellerbee v. Interstate Contract Carrier Corp., 183 Ga. App. 828 , 360 S.E.2d 280 (1987) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-17).

Language refers to carrier operations upon highways of this state. - When the words "motor common carrier" were used in subsection (a) of former Code 1933, § 68-618, the words referred to motor common carriers using the public highways of this state; and in providing that such nonresident motor common carrier shall designate an agent for service in this state upon whom service may be perfected "in any action or proceeding against such motor common carrier growing out of its carrier operations," it necessarily referred to carrier operations upon the highways of this state. Record Truck Line v. Harrison, 220 Ga. 289 , 138 S.E.2d 578 (1964) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

Out-of-state accident. - Georgia court had no personal jurisdiction over a trucking company licensed in Georgia as a nonresident motor common carrier, where it was undisputed that the traffic accident involving the trucking company occurred outside the State of Georgia. Tuck v. Cummins Trucking Co., 171 Ga. App. 485 , 320 S.E.2d 265 (1984) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-62); Mathews v. Rail Express, Inc., 836 F. Supp. 873 (N.D. Ga. 1993);(decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-62).

Burden of proving vehicle exempt from definition of "motor contract carrier." - On the question of whether a carrier was a "motor contract carrier" subject to suit in the county of the accident pursuant to subsection (b) of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-62 the burden of proof was on the truck owner to show that its truck came within the exemption from the definition of "motor contract carrier" found in former O.C.G.A. § 46-1-1(8)(c) and there was no burden on plaintiffs to prove that the truck was not within the exemption. Georgia Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Jernigan, 166 Ga. App. 872 , 305 S.E.2d 611 (1983) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-62).

Venue provision is permissive and cumulative. - Former Code 1933, § 68-618 did not make mandatory the bringing of such action against a motor common carrier in the county where the cause of action originated, but was purely permissive and cumulative. Harrison v. Neel Gap Bus Line, 51 Ga. App. 120 , 179 S.E. 871 (1935) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

Venue provision inapplicable to vehicles of state or political subdivision. - In action against county hospital authority and ambulance driver by automobile accident victim, the hospital authority was exempt from the venue provision of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-17 under the exemption provided for vehicles operated by any state or subdivision thereof in former O.C.G.A. § 46-1-1(7)(C)(viii). Calhoun County Hosp. Auth. v. Walker, 205 Ga. App. 259 , 421 S.E.2d 777 (1992), cert. denied, 205 Ga. App. 899 , 421 S.E.2d 777 (1992) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-17).

Not all venue options applicable to nonresident carrier. - Last sentence of subsection (b) of former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-17 did not mean that any and all venue provisions relative to an action against an insurer were applicable, at the election of the plaintiff, in a tort action against a motor carrier. What the sentence did mean was that the statute's venue provisions were not exclusive with regard to a suit against a motor carrier and that venue can be predicated upon any statute which was otherwise applicable. Thomas v. Bobby Stevens Hauling Contractors, 165 Ga. App. 710 , 302 S.E.2d 585 (1983) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-17).

Venue in action arising out of transaction in this state against nonresident carrier. - It was provided that an action against a nonresident motor common carrier may be brought in the county where the cause of action or some part thereof arose, this did not have the effect of restricting or limiting the venue in that respect; this provision contemplated an action arising out of a transaction in this state, but even then it did not require that the action be brought in the county where it arose. Parker v. Ryder Truck Lines, 150 Ga. App. 163 , 257 S.E.2d 18 (1979) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

Venue proper in county of registered office. - In an action against a trucking company, venue was proper in the county in which the company had the company's office properly registered with the secretary of state, not in the county of residence of the company's designated registered agent for service of process. Rock v. Ready Trucking, Inc., 218 Ga. App. 774 , 463 S.E.2d 355 (1995) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-17).

Residence of foreign carrier where cause of action originated. - Foreign motor common carrier, engaged in the business of trucking, hauling, and transporting freight over the various public highways within the state, and having designated a resident agent upon whom service of process can be made, under the clear mandate of former Code 1933, § 68-618, was, so far as the right to sue was concerned, a resident of this state, and a resident of the county in which the cause of action originated, so far as the right to bring an action against the county for a cause of action originating in that county was concerned. Southeastern Truck Lines v. Rann, 214 Ga. 813 , 108 S.E.2d 561 (1959) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

Alternative venue for actions against carriers. - Under former Code 1933, § 68-618, a motor carrier "may be" sued in the county where the cause of action originated or may be sued in the county where the carrier maintained the carrier's principal office and place of business, and this was so, regardless of whether the motor carrier had an agent in the jurisdiction wherein the cause of action originated. Modern Coach Corp. v. Faver, 87 Ga. App. 221 , 73 S.E.2d 497 (1952).

Permissible venue in county where cause of action originated despite residence of defendants. - Motor common carrier may be a nonresident corporation, yet since the carrier is engaged in doing business in this state, and has agents in the state for that purpose, the carrier is a resident of this state and a resident of the county in which the cause of action originated, so far as the right to bring an action against the county for a cause of action originating in that county is concerned, and, being a resident of that county for the purpose of an action, a joint tort feasor, notwithstanding that the joint tort feasor may reside in another county of this state, may be sued jointly with the motor common carrier in the county in which the cause of action originated. A.G. Boone Co. v. Owens, 51 Ga. App. 739 , 181 S.E. 519 (1935) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

A joint cause of action against a motor common carrier, which is a domestic corporation, against the carrier's servant and employee, and against the insurance carrier of the motor common carrier, a nonresident corporation with an agent for service in this state, for damages alleged to have been sustained by the negligent operation of the motor vehicle of the motor common carrier, may be brought in the county wherein the cause of action originated, although none of the defendants were residents of such county or have agents therein. Atlanta-Asheville Motor Express v. Dooley, 78 Ga. App. 265 , 50 S.E.2d 822 (1948) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

In a wrongful death action based on a motor vehicle accident, the state court of one county erred in denying the plaintiff's motion to remand the case to another county because the general provision for venue for a defendant corporation provided that a plaintiff could file certain causes of action against a corporation in the county where a plaintiff's cause of action originated; if there was a separate basis for venue, the plain language of the general provision precluded a corporation from removing the case to the county where its principal place of business was located; and the Georgia Motor Carrier Act, O.C.G.A. § 40-1-50 , et seq., supplied an independent basis for venue against a motor carrier in the county where the cause of action or some part thereof arose. Blakemore v. Dirt Movers, Inc., 344 Ga. App. 238 , 809 S.E.2d 827 (2018), cert. denied, No. S18C0731, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 469 (Ga. 2018).

Lack of agent in county where action originated does not preclude venue therein. - Action against a motor common carrier, except when the Constitution of this state otherwise provides, may be brought and maintained in any county in this state in which the cause of action originated, for damages for an injury to person or property by the operation of the vehicles of such motor common carrier, although the carrier may not have an agent in that county upon whom service of the suit may be perfected. A.G. Boone Co. v. Owens, 51 Ga. App. 739 , 181 S.E. 519 (1935) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

Same venue principles applicable to carriers as to railroad companies. - Under former Code 1933, § 94-1101, a joint and several action can be brought against a railroad company and another tort feasor, and as against the railroad company and the company's employee, a conductor or engineer, and the suit can be brought in the county where the cause of action originated and service perfected by second original, and this was true even though neither defendant resided or had an agent in that county; the same principle was applicable to a suit against a motor common carrier and the driver of the carrier's motor vehicle for a tort. Atlanta-Asheville Motor Express v. Dooley, 78 Ga. App. 265 , 50 S.E.2d 822 (1948) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

Venue as to nonresidents. - Venue of action against nonresidents may be maintained under Ga. L. 1959, p. 120, § 1 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-12-3 ) as well as former Code 1933, § 68-618. Parker v. Ryder Truck Lines, 150 Ga. App. 163 , 257 S.E.2d 18 (1979) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-618).

Conferring of qualified residence upon nonresident motor carrier. - Former Code 1933, § 68-514 controlled qualified residence upon nonresident motor contract carrier for purposes of action such that a resident joint tortfeasor may be joined in an action against it in the county where the injury occurred although the joint tortfeasor was a nonresident of such county, and although the defendant corporation had no office or place of doing business therein. Pate v. Brock, 95 Ga. App. 594 , 98 S.E.2d 404 (1957) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-514).

No misjoinder when proper action brought against parties. - It being alleged that the driver of the motor vehicle was engaged in carrying out the duties of the driver's employment as a driver for a common carrier at the time of the accident, and it appearing that the casualty company was the insurance carrier of the motor carrier, the action was properly brought against the three named defendants, and there was no misjoinder. Atlanta-Asheville Motor Express v. Dooley, 78 Ga. App. 265 , 50 S.E.2d 822 (1948) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-514).

Cited in Lee v. Acme Freight Lines, 54 F. Supp. 397 (S.D. Ga. 1944); United Motor Freight Term. Co. v. Driver, 74 Ga. App. 244 , 39 S.E.2d 496 (1946); American Fid. & Cas. Co. v. Farmer, 77 Ga. App. 166 , 48 S.E.2d 122 (1948); Dependable Ins. Co. v. Gibbs, 218 Ga. 305 , 127 S.E.2d 454 (1962); Delcher Bros. Storage Co. v. Ward, 134 Ga. App. 686 , 215 S.E.2d 516 (1975); Dove v. National Freight, Inc., 138 Ga. App. 114 , 225 S.E.2d 477 (1976); Irving Com. Corp. v. Sound Floor Coverings, Inc., 595 F. Supp. 536 (N.D. Ga. 1984); Gault v. National Union Fire Ins. Co., 208 Ga. App. 134 , 430 S.E.2d 63 (1993); Cooper v. Edwards, 235 Ga. App. 48 , 508 S.E.2d 708 (1998).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, § 287. 14 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, §§ 595, 1130.

C.J.S. - 61 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 1127 et seq., 1158, 1159.

ALR. - State regulation of carriers by motor vehicle as affected by interstate commerce clause, 47 A.L.R. 230 ; 49 A.L.R. 1203 ; 62 A.L.R. 52 ; 85 A.L.R. 1136 ; 109 A.L.R. 1245 ; 135 A.L.R. 1358 .

Constitutionality of statutes which permit action against trucking or bus company for injury to person or property to be brought in any county through or into which the route passes, and providing for the service of process in such cases, 81 A.L.R. 777 .

40-1-118. Establishment of just and reasonable rates, fares, and charges for transportation.

The commissioner shall prescribe just and reasonable rates, fares, and charges for transportation by motor carriers of household goods and for all services rendered by motor carriers in connection therewith. The tariffs therefor shall be in such form and shall be filed and published in such manner and on such notice as the department may prescribe. Such tariffs shall also be subject to change on such notice and in such manner as the department may prescribe. In order to carry out the purposes of this Code section, including the publication and maintenance of just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory rates and charges, the department shall establish a rate-making procedure for all carriers of household goods. Failure on the part of any motor carrier to comply with this Code section or the rules and regulations promulgated under this Code section may result in suspension or cancellation of said carrier's operating authority by the department.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-118 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 68-614 and former O.C.G.A. §§ 46-7-18 and 46-7-19 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Collective ratemaking activities by "rate bureaus" immune from antitrust liability. - Collective ratemaking activities carried on by "rate bureaus" composed of motor common carriers operating in several states, although not compelled by the states involved, "clearly articulated state policy" and thus were immune from antitrust liability. Southern Motor Carriers Rate Conference, Inc. v. United States, 471 U.S. 48, 105 S. Ct. 1721 , 85 L. Ed. 2 d 36 (1985) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-18).

Cited in Myers v. Atlantic Greyhound Lines, 52 Ga. App. 698 , 184 S.E. 414 (1936); United States v. Southern Motor Carriers Rate Conference, 439 F. Supp. 29 (N.D. Ga. 1977); Executive Town & Country Servs., Inc. v. City of Atlanta, 789 F.2d 1523 (11th Cir. 1986).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, §§ 157, 158.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 214 et seq., 223 et seq.

40-1-119. Charges by motor carriers; unjust discrimination by carriers prohibited.

No motor carrier of household goods or passengers shall charge, demand, collect, or receive a greater or lesser or different compensation for the transportation of household goods or passengers or for any service rendered in connection therewith than the rates, fares, and charges prescribed or approved by order of the department; nor shall any such motor carrier unjustly discriminate against any person in its rates, fares, or charges for service. The commissioner may prescribe, by general order, to what persons motor carriers of passengers may issue passes or free transportation; may prescribe reduced rates for special occasions; and may fix and prescribe rates and schedules.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-119 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 13/HB 323.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

40-1-120. Limiting baggage size for motor carrier's passengers.

Motor carriers of passengers shall not be compelled to carry baggage of passengers, except hand baggage, the character, amount, and size of which the motor carrier may limit by its rules and regulations, subject to the approval of the department; and the department may by rule or regulation limit the amount of the liability of the motor carrier therefor. If a motor carrier shall elect to carry the personal baggage of passengers, other than hand baggage, the department shall prescribe just and reasonable rates therefor and such other rules and regulations with respect thereto as may be reasonable and just, and may by rule or regulation limit the amount of the liability of the motor carrier therefor.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-120 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 68-617 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Ignorance of commission rules no excuse. - Rules of the commission made pursuant to former Code 1933, § 68-617 were presumed to be known or ascertainable by the public, and ignorance thereof excused no one. Myers v. Atlantic Greyhound Lines, 52 Ga. App. 698 , 184 S.E. 414 (1936) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-617).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 14 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, §§ 1181, 1232, 1248 et seq.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 291.

40-1-121. Inspection of books and records.

The department shall prescribe the books and the forms of accounts to be kept by the holders of certificates under this part, which books and accounts shall be preserved for such reasonable time as may be prescribed by the department. The books and records of every certificate holder shall be at all times open to the inspection of any agent of the department for such purpose. The department shall have the power to examine the books and records of all motor carriers to whom it has granted certificates or permits to operate under this part and to examine under oath the officers and agents of any motor carrier with respect thereto.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-121 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, §§ 31, 43, 91, 112, 113.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 125 et seq.

ALR. - State regulation of carriers by motor vehicle as affected by interstate commerce clause, 47 A.L.R. 230 ; 49 A.L.R. 1203 ; 62 A.L.R. 52 ; 85 A.L.R. 1136 ; 109 A.L.R. 1245 ; 135 A.L.R. 1358 .

40-1-122. Observing laws; schedule of operation.

Motor carriers shall observe the laws of this state in respect to size, weight, and speed of their vehicles. Intrastate motor carriers of passengers shall, and interstate motor carriers of passengers may, file with the department the schedules upon which they propose to operate their vehicles, which schedules shall be such that the net running time of vehicles between terminal points shall not exceed the lawful speed limit; and any motor carrier of passengers filing such a schedule shall be allowed to operate his or her vehicles on the highway at a rate of speed not exceeding the lawful speed limit in order to maintain a schedule so filed.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-122 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 68-634 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Cited in Folds v. Auto Mut. Indem. Co., 55 Ga. App. 198 , 189 S.E. 711 (1937); Atlantic Greyhound Corp. v. Loudermilk, 110 F.2d 596 (5th Cir. 1940).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, §§ 263, 265, 267, 284.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 28 et seq., 47, 48, 111 et seq., 153 et seq., 162, 166.

ALR. - State regulation of carriers by motor vehicle as affected by interstate commerce clause, 47 A.L.R. 230 ; 49 A.L.R. 1203 ; 62 A.L.R. 52 ; 85 A.L.R. 1136 ; 109 A.L.R. 1245 ; 135 A.L.R. 1358 .

Construction and application of statute or ordinance designed to prevent use of vehicles or equipment thereof injurious to the highway, 134 A.L.R. 550 .

40-1-123. Enjoining operation of motor carriers.

Any motor carrier which operates on the public highways of this state without the required certificate or permit, or after such certificate or permit has been canceled, or without having registered its vehicle or vehicles as provided for in this part, or which operates otherwise than is permitted by the terms of such certificate or permit or the laws of this state may be enjoined from operating on the public highways of this state upon the bringing of a civil action by the department, by a competing motor carrier or rail carrier, or by any individual.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-123 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-124. Perpetual franchise over public highways prohibited.

Nothing in this part or any other law shall be construed to vest in the owner, holder, or assignee of any certificate or permit issued under this part any vested right to use the public highways of this state and shall not be construed to give to any motor carrier any perpetual franchise over such public highways.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-124 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 68-631 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

No certificate holder acquires vested right or perpetual franchise. - No holder of a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the commission shall acquire any vested right to use the public roads or any perpetual franchises. Bass v. Georgia Public-Service Comm'n, 192 Ga. 106 , 14 S.E.2d 740 (1941) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-631).

No right to review of commission order by writ of certiorari. - After a certificate of public convenience and necessity had been granted by the commission to a motor common carrier, and thereafter, by order of the commission, and after a hearing such certificate was revoked and canceled because the evidence adduced at such hearing showed that such motor common carrier had abandoned the passenger service along the route in question, the motor common carrier, whose certificate of public convenience had thus been revoked and canceled by the commission did not have the right to review such judgment or order of the commission by the writ of certiorari in the superior court having jurisdiction. Southeastern Greyhound Lines v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 181 Ga. 75 , 181 S.E. 834 (1935) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-631).

Cited in Coleman v. Drake, 183 Ga. 682 , 188 S.E. 897 (1936).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d., Carriers, §§ 125 et seq., 148, 149, 151.

40-1-125. Hearing upon suspension or revocation of motor carrier certificate; judicial review.

  1. Upon issuance by the commissioner of an order suspending or revoking a motor carrier certificate, such motor carrier shall be afforded a hearing to be held in accordance with the procedures set forth in Code Section 40-1-56.
  2. Any person whose motor carrier certificate has been suspended or revoked and who has exhausted all administrative remedies available within the Department of Public Safety is entitled to judicial review in accordance with Code Section 40-1-56 . (Code 1981, § 40-1-125 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-126. Carriers engaged in interstate and intrastate commerce.

In circumstances where a motor carrier is engaged in both interstate and intrastate commerce, it shall nevertheless be subject to all the provisions of this part so far as it separately relates to commerce carried on exclusively in this state. It is not intended that the department shall have the power of regulating the interstate commerce of such motor carrier, except to the extent expressly authorized by this part as to such commerce. The provisions of this part do not apply to purely interstate commerce nor to carriers exclusively engaged in interstate commerce. When a motor carrier is engaged in both intrastate and interstate commerce, it shall be subject to all the provisions of this part so far as they separately relate to commerce carried on in this state.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-126 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

Law reviews. - For annual survey on insurance law, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 117 (2017).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 68-633 and former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-36 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Direct action against insurers of interstate carriers allowed. - Proper interpretation of the provision in former Code 1933, § 68-612 allowing for direct actions against insurance carriers, in conjunction with former Code 1933, § 68-633, was that the statute applied to interstate carriers as well as intrastate carriers. Kimberly v. Bankers & Shippers Ins. Co., 490 F. Supp. 93 (N.D. Ga. 1980) (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-633).

Direct action against carrier's insurer not authorized. - Trial court properly denied the insurer's summary judgment motions claiming that the direct actions against it were not authorized because, although it was apparent that the plain language of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-126 evinced the legislative intent that the direct action provision of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-112(c) did not apply to purely interstate commerce or to a carrier engaged exclusively in interstate commerce, and the tractor-trailer driver and the trucking company were engaged in an interstate trip at the time of the accident, the joinder of the insurer as a defendant was authorized by the direct action provision of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-140(d)(4) as that statute indicated that injured parties were able to join the insurers of interstate motor carriers. Daily Underwriters of America v. Williams, 354 Ga. App. 551 , 841 S.E.2d 135 (2020).

Cause of action for tort occurring out-of-state. - Since, under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-16(e), a certificate and bond or insurance was not required at all when carrier was engaged solely in interstate commerce over the public highways of Georgia, the certificate of convenience which permitted joinder of the insurer in a suit against a carrier "subject to action" in Georgia applied specifically to causes of action for a tort which occurred on public highways of other states. Johnson v. Woodard, 208 Ga. App. 41 , 429 S.E.2d 701 (1993) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-36).

Cited in Record Truck Line v. Harrison, 220 Ga. 289 , 138 S.E.2d 578 (1964).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, § 36 et seq.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 201 et seq., 206 et seq., 226.

ALR. - State regulation of carriers by motor vehicle as affected by interstate commerce clause, 47 A.L.R. 230 ; 49 A.L.R. 1203 ; 62 A.L.R. 52 ; 85 A.L.R. 1136 ; 109 A.L.R. 1245 ; 135 A.L.R. 1358 .

40-1-127. Actions for recovery of overcharges; rates, charges, and claims for loss or damage.

  1. All actions at law against motor carriers operating in this state, which actions seek to recover overcharges accruing on intrastate shipments, shall be initiated within a period of three years after the time the cause of action accrues, and not thereafter, provided that, if a claim for the overcharge is presented in writing to the carrier within the three-year period of limitation, the period shall be extended to include six months from the time notice in writing is given by the carrier to the claimant of disallowance of the claim or any part thereof.
  2. A motor carrier of property may, upon notice to the commissioner of public safety, elect to be subject to the following requirements regarding rates, charges, and claims for loss or damage:
    1. A motor carrier of property shall provide to the shipper, upon request of the shipper, a written or electronic copy of the rate, classification, rules, and practices upon which any rate agreed to between the shipper and carrier may have been based. When the applicability or reasonableness of the rates and related provisions billed by a carrier is challenged by the person paying the freight charges, the commissioner of public safety shall determine whether such rates and provisions are reasonable or applicable based on the record before it. In cases where a carrier other than a carrier providing transportation of household goods seeks to collect charges in addition to those billed and collected which are contested by the payor, the carrier may request that the commissioner of public safety determine whether any additional charges over those billed and collected must be paid. A carrier must issue any bill for charges in addition to those originally billed within 180 days of the original bill in order to have the right to collect such charges;
    2. If a shipper seeks to contest the charges originally billed by a motor carrier of property, the shipper may request that the commissioner of public safety determine whether the charges originally billed must be paid. A shipper must contest the original bill within 180 days in order to have the right to contest such charges; and
    3. Claims for loss of or damage to property for which any motor carrier of property may be liable must be filed within nine months after the delivery of the property, except that claims for failure to make delivery must be filed within nine months after a reasonable time for delivery has elapsed.
  3. The commissioner of public safety shall adopt rules regarding rates, charges, and claims for loss or damage applicable to carriers of household goods. (Code 1981, § 40-1-127 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-128. Accepting or receiving rebates or drawbacks; prima-facie evidence of intentional violation; burden of claiming exception.

  1. Any officer, agent, or employee of any corporation, and any other person, who knowingly accepts or receives any rebate or drawback from the rates, fares, or charges established or approved by the department for motor carriers of passengers or household goods, or who procures, aids, or abets therein, or who uses or accepts from such motor carrier any free pass or free transportation not authorized or permitted by law or by the orders, rules, or regulations of the department, or who procures, aids, or abets therein, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
  2. The possession of goods, wares, or merchandise loaded on a motor vehicle consigned to any person, firm, or corporation, being transported or having been transported over the public highways in this state, without the authority of a permit or certificate for so transporting having been issued by the department under this article, shall be prima-facie evidence that such transportation of such goods, wares, or merchandise was an intentional violation of the law regulating the transportation of persons and property over the public highways in this state.
  3. Any person claiming the benefit of any exception made in this article shall have the burden of proving that he or she falls within the exception. (Code 1981, § 40-1-128 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

Cross references. - Prohibition against rebates, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. III, Sec. VI, Para. V.

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-38 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Intent of Code sections prescribing penalties for violations of laws concerning motor common and contract carriers. - Former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-38 and O.C.G.A. §§ 32-1-10 , 32-6-23 and 32-6-24 were intended to promote the safety of the traveling public and protect the public's investment in public roads and highways. 1981 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U81-17 (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 46-7-38).

Fingerprinting not required. - Misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-128 are offenses for which those charged are not to be fingerprinted. 2012 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 12-6.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, § 285. 21 Am. Jur. 2d, Criminal Law, §§ 1, 18 et seq.

C.J.S. - 13 C.J.S., Carriers, §§ 312, 314, 315, 325, 334. 61A C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 1504 et seq.

40-1-129. Fines for violating certificate requirement; advertising services without certificate prohibited.

  1. Whenever the department, after a hearing conducted in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 40-1-56, finds that any person, firm, or corporation is operating as a household goods carrier for hire without a valid certificate issued by the department or is holding itself out as such a carrier without such a certificate in violation of this part, the department may impose a fine of not more than $5,000.00 for each violation. The department may assess the person, firm, or corporation an amount sufficient to cover the reasonable expense of investigation incurred by the department. The department may also assess interest at the rate specified in Code Section 40-1-56 on any fine or assessment imposed, to commence on the day the fine or assessment becomes delinquent. All fines, assessments, and interest collected by the department shall be paid into the general fund of the state treasury. Any party aggrieved by a decision of the department under this subsection may seek judicial review as provided in Code Section 40-1-56.
  2. Any person, firm, or corporation who knowingly and willfully issues, publishes, or affixes or causes or permits the issuance, publishing, or affixing of any oral or written advertisement, broadcast, or other holding out to the public, or any portion thereof, that the person, firm, or corporation is in operation as a household goods carrier for hire without having a valid certificate issued by the department is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any fine or assessment imposed by the department pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section shall not bar criminal prosecution pursuant to the provisions of this subsection. (Code 1981, § 40-1-129 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40/HB 79.)

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting not required. - Misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-129 are offenses for which those charged are not to be fingerprinted. 2012 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 12-6.

40-1-130. Inclusion of motor carrier authorization number in advertising.

In any advertisement for a motor carrier, whether by print, radio, television, other broadcast, or electronic media including but not limited to Internet advertising and any listing or sites on any website, the motor carrier shall include the motor carrier authorization number issued to it by the Department of Public Safety. The requirements of this Code section shall not apply to nonconsensual towing motor carriers providing services pursuant to Code Section 44-1-13. The department shall be required to issue a motor carrier authorization number to each registered motor carrier. Whenever the department, after a hearing conducted in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 40-1-56, finds that any person is advertising in violation of this Code section, the department may impose a fine of not more than $500.00 for an initial violation and not more than $15,000.00 for a second or subsequent violation.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-130 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

PART 3 G EORGIA LIMOUSINE CARRIERS

40-1-150. Short title.

This part shall be known and may be cited as the "Georgia Limousine Carrier Act."

(Code 1981, § 40-1-150 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-151. Definitions.

As used in this part, the term:

  1. "Certificate" or "limousine carrier certificate" means a certificate issued by the department for the operation of limousines or limousine services under this part and such certificates issued by the Public Service Commission on or before June 30, 2012.
  2. "Chauffeur" means any person with a Georgia state driver's license who meets the qualifications as prescribed in this part and who is authorized by the commissioner of driver services to drive a motor vehicle of a limousine carrier as provided in paragraph (5) of this Code section.
  3. "Department" means the Department of Public Safety.
  4. "Limousine" means any motor vehicle that meets the manufacturer's specifications for a luxury limousine with a designed seating capacity for no more than ten passengers and with a minimum of five seats located behind the operator of the vehicle, and which does not have a door at the rear of the vehicle designed to allow passenger entry or exit; further, no vehicle shall be permitted to be operated both as a taxicab and a limousine.
  5. "Limousine carrier" means any person owning or operating a prearranged service regularly rendered to the public by furnishing transportation as a motor carrier for hire, not over fixed routes, by means of one or more unmetered:
    1. Limousines;
    2. Extended limousines;
    3. Sedans;
    4. Extended sedans;
    5. Sport utility vehicles;
    6. Extended sport utility vehicles;
    7. Other vehicles with a capacity for seating and transporting no more than 15 persons for hire including the driver; or
    8. Any combination of subparagraphs (A) through (G) of this paragraph on the basis of telephone contract or written contract. A limousine carrier shall not use per capita rates or charges.
  6. "Person" means any individual, firm, partnership, private or public corporation, company, association, or joint-stock association, and includes any trustee, receiver, assignee, or personal representative thereof.
  7. "Public highway" means every public street, road, highway, or thoroughfare of any kind in this state.
  8. "Vehicle" or "motor vehicle" means any vehicle, machine, tractor, trailer, or semitrailer propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used upon the highways in the transportation of passengers or property, or any combination thereof, determined by the commissioner. (Code 1981, § 40-1-151 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40/HB 79; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 14/HB 323.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

40-1-152. Operation in accordance with provisions; certificate for limousine carrier required.

  1. No limousine carrier shall operate any motor vehicle owned or operated by a limousine carrier for the transportation of passengers for compensation on any public highway in this state except in accordance with the provisions of this article.
  2. No person may engage in the business of a limousine carrier over any public highway in this state without first having obtained from the department a certificate to do so. (Code 1981, § 40-1-152 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-153. Application form for limousine carriers; issuance to qualified applicants.

  1. The department shall prescribe the form of the application for a limousine carrier certificate and shall prescribe such reasonable requirements as to notice, publication, proof of service, maintenance of adequate liability insurance coverage, and information as may, in its judgment, be necessary and may establish fees as part of such certificate process.
  2. A limousine carrier certificate shall be issued to any qualified applicant, provided that such applicant is a limousine carrier business domiciled in this state, authorizing the operations covered by the application if it is found that the applicant is fit, willing, and able to perform properly the service and conform to the provisions of this part and the rules and regulations of the department and has not been convicted of any felony as such violation or violations are related to the operation of a motor vehicle. (Code 1981, § 40-1-153 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-154. Compliance with Code Section 40-1-8.

Limousine carriers shall comply with the applicable provisions of Code Section 40-1-8.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-154 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2016, p. 767, § 1/SB 320.)

The 2016 amendment, effective January 1, 2017, substituted the present provisions of this Code section for the former provisions, which read: "(a) It shall be the duty of the department to regulate limousine carriers with respect to the safety of equipment.

"(b) The department shall require safety and mechanical inspections at least on an annual basis for each vehicle owned or operated by a limousine carrier. The department shall provide, by rule or regulation, for the scope of such inspections, the qualifications of persons who may conduct such inspections, and the manner by which the results of such inspections shall be reported to the department.

"(c) In addition to the requirements of this Code section, limousine carriers shall comply with the applicable provisions of Code Section 40-1-8."

40-1-155. Transferring or encumbering certificates.

No limousine carrier certificate issued under this part may be leased, assigned, or otherwise transferred or encumbered unless authorized by the department.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-155 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-156. Grounds for cancellation, revocation, or suspension of limousine carrier certificate.

  1. The department may cancel, revoke, or suspend any limousine carrier certificate issued under this part on any of the following grounds:
    1. The violation of any of the provisions of this part;
    2. The violation of an order, decision, rule, regulation, or requirement established by the department;
    3. Failure of a limousine carrier to pay a fee imposed on the carrier within the time required by law or by the department;
    4. Failure of a limousine carrier to maintain required insurance in full force and effect; and
    5. Failure of a limousine carrier to operate and perform reasonable services.
  2. After the cancellation or revocation of a certificate or during the period of its suspension, it is unlawful for a limousine carrier to conduct any operations as such a carrier. (Code 1981, § 40-1-156 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-157. Validity of certificates.

Limousine certificates shall be valid unless suspended, revoked, or canceled by the commissioner, or surrendered to the commissioner by the holder.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-157 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40/HB 79.)

40-1-158. For-hire license endorsement or private background check certification required.

Pursuant to rules and regulations prescribed by the commissioner of driver services, each chauffeur employed by a limousine carrier shall secure from the Department of Driver Services a for-hire license endorsement or private background check certification pursuant to Code Section 40-5-39.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-158 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 2/HB 225.)

Law reviews. - For article on the 2015 amendment of this Code section, see 32 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 213 (2015).

40-1-159. Application fees.

The commissioner shall collect the following one-time fees upon initial application of a limousine carrier pursuant to this part:

  1. A fee of $75.00 to accompany each application for a certificate, or amendment to an existing certificate, where the applicant owns or operates fewer than six limousines;
  2. A fee of $150.00 to accompany each application for a certificate, or amendment to an existing certificate, where the applicant owns or operates six to 15 limousines;
  3. A fee of $200.00 to accompany each application for a certificate, or amendment to an existing certificate, where the applicant owns or operates more than 15 limousines; and
  4. A fee of $75.00 to accompany each application for transfer of a certificate. (Code 1981, § 40-1-159 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Fees charged are in nature of tax. - Fees charged motor carriers for certificate of public convenience and necessity and for the license of each vehicle are in the nature of a tax, justified in the reasonable amounts exacted, as recompense for the special use, for the purpose of gain, of the highways. Southern Motorways, Inc. v. Perry, 39 F.2d 145 (N.D. Ga. 1930) (decided under Ga. L. 1929, p. 293).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 59, 74, 80 et seq. 13 Am. Jur. 2d, Carriers, §§ 148, 149, 151.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 307, 308.

40-1-160. Transportation of persons under age 21 drinking alcohol.

Any limousine carrier subject to the jurisdiction of the commissioner that transports passengers shall comply with the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 3-3-23 and Code Section 3-9-6, concerning consumption of alcoholic beverages. The commissioner shall provide to all such limousine carriers, at the time of registration a certificate, an informational packet emphasizing the prohibition on alcohol consumption by persons under the age of 21 while being transported by the limousine carrier.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-160 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

Law reviews. - For annual survey on commercial transportation, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 41 (2017).

40-1-161. Revocation, alteration, or amendment of limousine certificate.

The commissioner may, at any time after notice and opportunity to be heard and for reasonable cause, revoke, alter, or amend any limousine certificate issued under this part, or under prior law, if it shall be made to appear that the holder of the certificate has willfully violated or refused to observe any of the lawful and reasonable orders, rules, or regulations prescribed by the commissioner or any of the provisions of this part or any other law of this state regulating or taxing motor vehicles, or both, or if in the opinion of the commissioner the holder of the certificate is not furnishing adequate service. An administrative hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures for contested cases under Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act," and the provisions of Code Section 40-1-56.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-161 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 15/HB 323; Ga. L. 2014, p. 866, § 40/SB 340.)

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2012, the subsection (a) designation was deleted as there was no subsection (b).

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

40-1-162. State regulates limousine carriers; preemption; limousine carrier doing business at a county or municipal airport.

The State of Georgia fully occupies and preempts the entire field of regulation over limousine carriers as regulated by this part; provided, however, that the governing authority of any county or municipal airport shall be authorized to permit any limousine carrier doing business at any such airport and may establish fees as part of such permitting process; provided, further, that such fees shall not exceed the airport's approximate cost of permitting and regulating limousine carriers; and provided, further, that such governing authorities of such airports shall accept a chauffeur's endorsement issued by the Department of Driver Services to the driver and evidence of a certificate issued to the limousine carrier by the Department of Public Safety as adequate evidence of sufficient criminal background investigations and shall not require any fee for any further criminal background investigation. The list of licensed limousine carriers on the website of the Department of Public Safety shall be sufficient evidence that a limousine carrier has a certificate issued by the Department of Public Safety.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-162 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

Law reviews. - For annual survey on commercial transportation, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 41 (2017).

40-1-163. Rates and charges.

  1. Notwithstanding the powers granted to the department regarding tariffs of other motor carriers, the department is not authorized to set, adjust, or change rates or charges for transportation of passengers, property, or passengers and property by a vehicle of a type listed in Code Section 40-1-151 that is managed, operated, owned, leased, rented, or controlled by a limousine carrier.
  2. Any tariff issued by the department that exists as of June 30, 2007, that regulates the rates or charges for transportation of passengers, property, or passengers and property by a vehicle of a type listed in Code Section 40-1-151 that is managed, operated, owned, leased, rented, or controlled by a limousine carrier shall be void. (Code 1981, § 40-1-163 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 16/HB 323.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

40-1-164. Notice and opportunity to be heard by carriers.

Before the department shall enter any order, regulation, or requirement directed against any limousine carrier, such carrier shall first be given reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard on the matter.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-164 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-165. Motor carrier authorization number of limousine carriers included in advertisement.

In any advertisement for a limousine carrier, whether by print, radio, television, other broadcast, or electronic media including but not limited to Internet advertising and any listing or sites on any website, the limousine carrier shall include the motor carrier authorization number issued to it by the Department of Public Safety. The department shall be required to issue a motor carrier authorization number to each registered limousine carrier. Whenever the department, after a hearing conducted in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 40-1-56, finds that any person is advertising in violation of this Code section, the department may impose a fine of not more than $500.00 for an initial violation and not more than $15,000.00 for a second or subsequent violation.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-165 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-166. Commercial indemnity and liability insurance.

Each limousine carrier shall obtain and maintain commercial indemnity and liability insurance with an insurance company licensed under Title 33 or through a surplus line broker licensed under Title 33, which policy shall provide for the protection of passengers and property carried and of the public against injury proximately caused by the negligence of the limousine carrier, its servants, and its agents. The minimum amount of such insurance shall be:

  1. For capacity of 12 passengers or less, $300,000.00 for bodily injuries to or death of all persons in any one accident with a maximum of $100,000.00 for bodily injuries to or death of one person, and $50,000.00 for loss of damage in any one accident to property of others, excluding cargo; or
  2. For capacity of more than 12 passengers, $500,000.00 for bodily injuries to or death of all persons in any one accident with a maximum of $100,000.00 for bodily injuries to or death of one person, and $50,000.00 for loss of damage in any one accident to property of others, excluding cargo. (Code 1981, § 40-1-166 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 2.1/HB 225.)

Law reviews. - For article on the 2015 amendment of this Code section, see 32 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 213 (2015).

40-1-167. Required information on license plates of limousines.

Each limousine carrier which registers any vehicle under this article shall, for each such certificated vehicle, affix to the center of the front bumper of each such certificated vehicle a standard size license plate bearing the following information:

  1. Limousine carrier name;
  2. City and state of principal domicile;
  3. Company telephone number; and
  4. Motor carrier identification number if the limousine carrier is a commercial motor carrier or motor carrier authorization number issued by the department if the limousine carrier is a lightweight commercial vehicle. The cost for such license plate shall be the sole responsibility of the limousine carrier and must be placed on each certificated vehicle prior to such vehicle being placed in service. (Code 1981, § 40-1-167 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865; Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 17/HB 323.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2013, p. 838, § 20/HB 323, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2013, and shall apply to violations committed on or after such date".

40-1-168. Local taxation of limousine carriers prohibited.

No subdivision of this state, including cities, townships, or counties, shall levy any excise, license, or occupation tax of any nature, on the right of a limousine carrier to operate equipment, or on the equipment, or on any incidents of the business of a limousine carrier.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-168 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

40-1-169. Enforcement.

The department is authorized to enforce the provisions of this part. Additionally, the department may hear a petition by a third party asserting that a limousine carrier has violated Code Section 40-1-152 and may impose the penalties and seek the remedies set out in Code Section 40-1-56 if the department finds such a violation.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-169 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2012, in the second sentence, "Code Section" was inserted twice and "of this title" was deleted following "40-1-56".

40-1-170. Application to every vehicle controlled by limousine carrier.

The provisions of this part and the powers granted to the department by this part to regulate limousine carriers shall apply to every vehicle of a type listed in Code Section 40-1-151 that is managed, operated, owned, leased, rented, or controlled by a limousine carrier.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-170 , enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 1/HB 865.)

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Transportation and Network Companies and Taxi Services, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Public Safety, Chapter 570-35.

PART 4 R IDE SHARE NETWORK SERVICES AND TRANSPORTATION REFERRAL SERVICES

Law reviews. - For article on the 2015 enactment of this part, see 32 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 213 (2015). For article, "The Uber Million Dollar Question: Are Uber Drivers Employees or Independent Contractors?," see 68 Mercer L. Rev. 461 (2017). For article, "The Code of the Platform," see 54 Ga. L. Rev. 605 (2020).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR. - Liability and regulation of ride-sharing services using social media, 6 A.L.R.7th 1.

40-1-190. Definitions.

As used in this part, the term:

  1. "Limousine carrier" means any limousine company or provider which is licensed with the state pursuant to paragraph (5) of Code Section 40-1-151.
  2. "Metering device" means an instrument or device which is utilized for the purpose of calculating for-hire fares based upon distance, time, mileage, and administrative fees and which is not a taximeter.
  3. "Ride share driver" means an individual who uses his or her personal passenger car, as defined in paragraph (41) of Code Section 40-1-1, to provide transportation for passengers arranged through a ride share network service.
  4. "Ride share network service" means any person or entity that uses a digital network or Internet network to connect passengers to ride share drivers for the purpose of prearranged transportation for hire or for donation. The term "ride share network service" shall not include any corporate sponsored vanpool or exempt rideshare as such terms are defined in Code Section 40-1-100, provided that such corporate sponsored vanpool or exempt rideshare is not operated for the purpose of generating a profit.
  5. "Taxi service" means any taxicab company or provider which utilizes a motor vehicle or similar vehicle, device, machine, or conveyance to transport passengers; uses a taximeter; and is authorized to provide taxicab services pursuant to an ordinance of a local government in this state.
  6. "Taximeter" means an instrument or device approved by the applicable local government which is utilized by a taxi service for the purpose of calculating fares based upon distance, time, and mileage.
  7. "Transportation referral service" means any person or entity that books, refers clients to, collects money for, or advertises transportation services provided by a limousine carrier or taxi service by means of a telephone, through cellular telephone software, through the Internet, in person, by written instrument, by any person, or by any other means, and does not own or lease any motor vehicle required to be registered with the Department of Public Safety as a limousine carrier or a taxi service. A transportation referral service shall not include emergency or nonemergency medical transports.
  8. "Transportation referral service provider" means any person or entity that books, refers clients to, collects money for, or advertises transportation services provided by a limousine carrier or taxi service by means of a telephone, through cellular telephone software, through the Internet, in person, by written instrument, by any person, or by any other means and owns or leases one or more motor vehicles required to be registered with the Department of Public Safety as a limousine carrier or a local government in this state as a taxi service. A transportation referral service provider shall not include emergency or nonemergency medical transports. (Code 1981, § 40-1-190 , enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 3/HB 225.)

40-1-191. Legislative findings; preemption; ride share network service, transportation referral service, transportation referral service provider, and taxi service doing business at a county or municipal airport.

The General Assembly finds that it is in the public interest to provide uniform administration and parity among ride share network services, transportation referral services, and transportation referral service providers, including taxi services, that operate in this state for the safety and protection of the public. The General Assembly fully occupies and preempts the entire field of administration and regulation over ride share network services, transportation referral services, transportation referral service providers, and taxi services as governed by this part; provided, however, that the governing authority of any county or municipal airport shall be authorized to regulate any ride share network service, transportation referral service, transportation referral service provider, and taxi service consistent with the process used for limousine carriers, as set forth in Code Section 40-1-162, who are doing business at any such airport and may establish fees as part of such regulation process; provided, further, that such fees shall not exceed the airport's approximate cost of permitting and regulating ride share network services, transportation referral services, transportation referral service providers, and taxi services; and provided, further, that such governing authorities of such airports shall accept a for-hire license endorsement or private background check certification pursuant to Code Section 40-5-39 as adequate evidence of sufficient criminal background investigations and shall not require any fee for any further criminal background investigation; and provided, further, that local governments may maintain certificates of public necessity and convenience and medallion requirements and company requirements for taxi services as provided in this part and may establish maximum fares for taxi services. The list of ride share network services, transportation referral services, transportation referral service providers, and taxi services on the website of the department shall be sufficient evidence that such services have licenses issued by the department.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-191 , enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 3/HB 225.)

40-1-192. Transportation referral service provider registration requirement; licensure; exemptions; additional requirements.

  1. A transportation referral service or transportation referral service provider that only refers business to limousine carriers and taxi services that are licensed or registered as transportation referral service providers shall be exempt from registration under this Code section.
  2. Each transportation referral service provider doing business, operating, or providing transportation services in this state shall register with the department. Upon receipt of registration by the department, the department shall issue a license to such transportation referral service provider which shall be renewed on an annual basis. The department may charge a fee for such license and registration not to exceed $100.00. Limousine carriers, as a part of the licensure and permitting process for limousine carriers, shall be registered and licensed as a transportation referral service provider under this part. A transportation referral service provider that receives referrals from a transportation referral service or a transportation referral service provider shall be required to disclose to the department that it is receiving referrals from such transportation referral service or transportation referral service provider; provided, however, that the limousine carrier or taxi service shall be required to comply with the requirements of this part.
  3. Each transportation referral service provider doing business, operating, or providing transportation services in this state shall file and keep current monthly with the department a list of all limousine carriers and taxi services which it utilizes to provide transportation services in this state. Such lists shall not be subject to inspection or disclosure under Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50.
  4. Each transportation referral service provider doing business, operating, or providing transportation services in this state shall:
    1. Either obtain directly or determine that each taxi service to which it refers business possesses either a certificate of public necessity and convenience or medallion authorizing the provision of taxicab services in such local government if the certificate of public necessity and convenience or medallion is required by an ordinance of the local government where such taxi service is to be provided;
    2. Either obtain directly or determine that each taxi service to which it refers business is registered with the department and possesses and maintains a permit authorizing the provision of taxicab services in such local government if a company permit is required by an ordinance of the local government where such taxi service is to be provided;
    3. Either obtain directly or determine that each limousine carrier to which it refers business is properly and currently registered and licensed pursuant to Part 3 of this article;
    4. Take all necessary steps to determine that:
      1. Any driver either directly employed by or contracted with a limousine carrier which the limousine carrier contracts with or utilizes for the provision of transportation services in this state possesses and maintains any required permits or licenses required by the federal government or this state; and
      2. Any driver either directly employed by or contracted with a taxi service which the taxi service contracts with or utilizes for the provision of transportation services in this state possesses and maintains any required permits or licenses required by the federal government or the local government where the transportation services are to be provided;
    5. Ensure that each driver utilized by such transportation referral service provider, whether such driver is employed directly by the transportation referral service provider or by a limousine carrier or taxi service which the transportation referral service provider contracts with or utilizes for the provision of transportation services in this state, has a current for-hire license endorsement or current private background check certification pursuant to Code Section 40-5-39;
    6. Have a zero tolerance policy with regard to the use of drugs or alcohol while on duty in place for drivers utilized by such limousine carrier or taxi service in the provision of transportation services, whether such driver is employed directly by the transportation referral service provider or by a limousine carrier or taxi service which the transportation referral service provider contracts with or utilizes for the provision of transportation services in this state;
    7. Shall ensure that each limousine carrier with which such transportation referral service provider contracts or utilizes for the provision of transportation services in this state has the commercial indemnity and liability insurance required by Code Section 40-1-166 or each taxi service with which such transportation referral service provider contracts or utilizes for the provision of transportation services in this state has the minimum amount of commercial liability insurance prescribed by state law;
    8. Have, as to taxi services, complied with or ensured that any taxi service which it contracts with or utilizes for the provision of transportation services complies with any fare structure or regulation prescribed by ordinance of the local government where such taxi service is to be provided; provided, however, that any fares specified in local ordinances shall be the maximum fare which may be charged but shall not prohibit a taxi service from charging lower fares;
    9. Have complied with or determined that the limousine carrier or taxi service with which the provider contracts with or utilizes for the provision of transportation services in this state is in compliance with any and all other applicable requirements prescribed by the laws of the state, the rules and regulations of the department, and the ordinances of local governments where such transportation services are provided; and
    10. Comply with the provisions of Code Section 40-8-7. No additional vehicle inspections shall be required for taxi services or limousine carriers.
  5. Failure to register according to the provisions of this Code section shall be a misdemeanor. (Code 1981, § 40-1-192 , enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 3/HB 225.)

40-1-193. Ride share network service registration requirement; licensure; required list of all ride share drivers; additional requirements for ride share network service businesses and drivers; law enforcement access to digital information in smart phone of driver.

  1. Each ride share network service doing business or operating in this state shall register with the department. Upon receipt of registration by the department, the department shall issue a license to such ride share network service which shall be renewed on an annual basis. The department may charge a fee for such license and registration not to exceed $100.00.
  2. Each ride share network service doing business or operating in this state shall maintain a current list of all ride share drivers who are enrolled in its network in this state. Such lists shall not be subject to inspection or disclosure under Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50 but shall be made available for inspection by law enforcement officers and representatives of other government agencies upon request to ascertain compliance with this title.
  3. Each ride share network service doing business or operating in this state shall:
    1. Take all necessary steps to determine that each driver contracted with such ride share network service possesses and maintains any required permits or licenses required by the federal government or this state;
    2. Ensure that each driver utilized by such ride share network service, whether such driver is employed directly by the ride share network service or operates as an independent contractor, has a current for-hire license endorsement or current private background check certification pursuant to Code Section 40-5-39;
    3. Have a zero tolerance policy with regard to the use of drugs or alcohol while on duty in place for drivers contracted with such ride share network service;
    4. Have for each ride share driver contracted with such ride share network service in this state insurance coverage in effect with respect to personal injury liability, property damage liability, and personal injury protection liability benefits available to drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and others in the same coverage amounts as required by law; and
    5. Comply with the provisions of Code Section 40-8-7. No vehicle inspections shall be required for vehicles used by ride share drivers.
  4. Each ride share driver utilized by such ride share network service, whether such driver is employed directly by the ride share network service or operates as an independent contractor, shall maintain on his or her smartphone digital identification containing the following information while active on the ride share network service's digital network:
    1. The name and photograph of the driver;
    2. The make and model of the motor vehicle being driven;
    3. The license plate number of the motor vehicle being driven;
    4. Certificates of insurance for the motor vehicle being driven; and
    5. Such other information as may be required by the Department of Public Safety.

      Upon reasonable suspicion of a law enforcement officer of improper operation by a ride share driver, the ride share driver, upon request, shall provide the law enforcement officer with access to the smartphone containing the digital information required by this subsection and the electronic record of the trips sufficient to establish that the trip in question was prearranged through digital dispatch of the ride share network service. The ride share driver shall not be required to relinquish custody of the smartphone containing the digital information required by this subsection and the electronic record of the trips arranged through digital dispatch of the ride share network service.

  5. A violation of this Code section shall be a misdemeanor. (Code 1981, § 40-1-193 , enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 3/HB 225.)

40-1-193.1. Registration of taxi services; requirements to operate taxi service.

  1. Each taxi service doing business or operating in this state shall register with the department. Upon receipt of registration by the department, the department shall issue a license to such taxi service which shall be renewed on an annual basis. The department may charge a fee for such license and registration not to exceed $100.00.
  2. Each taxi service doing business or operating in this state shall maintain a current list of all drivers utilized by such taxi service in this state, whether as employees or independent contractors. Such lists shall not be subject to inspection or disclosure under Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50 but shall be made available for inspection by law enforcement officers and representatives of other government agencies upon request to ascertain compliance with this title.
  3. Each taxi service doing business or operating in this state shall:
    1. Take all necessary steps to determine that each driver utilized by such taxi service, whether as an employee or independent contractor, possesses and maintains any required permits or licenses required by the federal government or this state;
    2. Ensure that each driver utilized by such taxi service, whether as an employee or independent contractor, has a current for-hire license endorsement or current private background check certification pursuant to Code Section 40-5-39;
    3. Have a zero tolerance policy with regard to the use of drugs or alcohol while on duty in place for drivers utilized by such taxi service, whether as an employee or independent contractor;
    4. Obtain and maintain personal injury and property damage liability insurance, which shall provide for the protection of passengers and property carried and of the public against injury in the coverage amounts as required by law; and
    5. Comply with the provisions of Code Section 40-8-7. No vehicle inspections shall be required for vehicles used by taxi services.
  4. The department or any county, municipality, or consolidated government may require proof of insurance or proof of payment of such insurance in the coverage amounts as required by law and may verify such insurance when issuing or renewing a certificate of public necessity and convenience or medallion. (Code 1981, § 40-1-193.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 2016, p. 767, § 2/SB 320.)

Effective date. - This Code section became effective January 1, 2017.

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Transferability of license, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Public Safety, Transportation Network Companies and Taxi Services, § 570-35-.06.

40-1-194. Prohibition on contracting with carriers, drivers, or taxi services not properly licensed or insured; penalties for violations.

      1. No transportation referral service or transportation referral service provider subject to this part shall contract with, utilize, or refer individuals or entities to limousine carriers that are not properly licensed by this state or are not properly insured under state law.
      2. No ride share network service subject to this part shall contract with, utilize, or refer individuals or entities to ride share drivers who are not properly licensed by this state or are not properly insured under state law.
    1. No transportation referral service or transportation referral service provider subject to this part shall contract with, utilize, or refer individuals or entities to taxi services that are not registered with the department and properly licensed by the applicable political subdivision of this state, are not properly insured under local law, or use drivers that are not properly licensed under state and local law to carry passengers for hire.
      1. No person who is not licensed under the laws of this state to provide limousine services shall contract with or accept referrals from a transportation referral service, transportation referral service provider, or ride share network service for transportation services. This paragraph shall not apply to passengers.
      2. No ride share driver who does not have an appropriate driver's license and either a for-hire endorsement or current private background check certification pursuant to Code Section 40-5-39 shall contract with or accept referrals from a transportation referral service, transportation referral service provider, or ride share network service for transportation services.
    1. No person who does not have the licensing required by the appropriate local government of this state to provide taxi services shall contract with or accept referrals from a transportation referral service or transportation referral service provider for transportation services. This paragraph shall not apply to passengers.
    1. A transportation referral service that violates subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
    2. A transportation referral service provider or ride share network service that violates subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and additionally shall be subject to having such provider's or service's registration suspended or revoked by the department.
  1. A person who violates subsection (b) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and additionally may be subject to a suspension for one year or revocation of such person's driver's license. (Code 1981, § 40-1-194 , enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 3/HB 225.)

40-1-195. Inclusion of license number issued by department in advertising; requirements for signage or emblem approved by Department of Public Safety.

  1. Each taxi service, transportation referral service, transportation referral service provider, and ride share network service doing business, operating, or providing transportation services in this state shall include its license number issued by the department in any advertising in this state; provided, however, that this Code section shall not apply to Internet advertisements. Limousine carriers which register as transportation referral service providers under this part shall be subject to the advertising requirements of this Code section and not the provisions of Code Section 40-1-165. Failure to provide such license number shall result in the imposition of a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000.00 for each violation.
  2. Each ride share driver shall display a consistent and distinctive signage or emblem that is approved by the Department of Public Safety on such ride share driver's vehicle at all times while the ride share driver is active on the ride share network service's digital network. The signage or emblem shall be:
    1. Sufficiently large and color contrasted to be readable during daylight hours from a distance of at least 50 feet;
    2. Reflective, illuminated, or otherwise visible in darkness; and
    3. Sufficient to identify a vehicle as being associated with the ride share network service with which the ride share driver is affiliated. Any person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (Code 1981, § 40-1-195 , enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 3/HB 225; Ga. L. 2016, p. 864, § 40/HB 737.)

The 2016 amendment, effective May 3, 2016, part of an Act to revise, modernize, and correct the Code, revised capitalization in subsection (a).

40-1-196. Rates charged.

  1. Rates for taxi services set by a local government shall constitute the maximum fare which may be charged but shall not prohibit a taxi service from charging lower fares. Transportation services provided by taxi services and arranged by a transportation referral service or transportation referral service provider doing business in this state shall be billed in accordance with the fare rates prescribed by the local government where such taxi services are to be provided. The use of Internet or cellular telephone software to calculate rates shall not be permitted unless such software complies with and conforms to the weights and measures standards of the local government that licenses such taxi service.
  2. Transportation services provided by limousine carriers and arranged by a transportation referral service or transportation referral service provider shall only be billed in accordance with the rates of such limousine carriers on an hourly basis or upon one or more of the following factors: distance, flat fee, base fee, waiting time, cancellation fee, stop fee, event pricing, demand pricing, or time. The charge for such transportation services may be calculated by the use of a metering device in or affixed to the motor vehicle.
  3. A ride share driver contracted with a ride share network service may offer transportation services at no charge, suggest a donation, or charge a fare. If a ride share driver contracted with a ride share network service charges a fare, such fare shall be calculated based upon one or more of the following factors: distance, flat fee, base fee, waiting time, cancellation fee, stop fee, event pricing, demand pricing, or time. The fare may be calculated by the use of a metering device in or affixed to the motor vehicle.
  4. Each transportation referral service, transportation referral service provider, and ride share network service shall make available to the person being transported prior to receiving transportation services either the amount of the charge for such services or the rates under which the charge will be determined.
  5. A violation of this Code section shall be a misdemeanor. (Code 1981, § 40-1-196 , enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 3/HB 225.)

40-1-197. Promulgation of rules and regulations.

The department is authorized to promulgate such rules and regulations as the department shall find necessary to implement the provisions of this part.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-197 , enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 3/HB 225.)

40-1-198. Requirement to maintain current list of drivers.

  1. Each transportation referral service provider shall maintain a current list of all drivers that such provider employs directly or as independent contractors in this state. Such lists shall not be subject to inspection or disclosure under Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50 but shall be made available for inspection by law enforcement officers and representatives of other government agencies upon request to ascertain compliance with this title.
  2. A violation of this Code section shall be punished by the imposition of a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000.00 for each violation. (Code 1981, § 40-1-198 , enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 3/HB 225.)

40-1-199. Waivers.

A waiver of any rights with regard to personal injuries as the result of any transportation services provided by such ride share network service, transportation referral service, transportation referral service provider, limousine carrier, or taxi service by any person utilizing the services of a ride share network service, transportation referral service, transportation referral service provider, limousine carrier, or taxi service in this state shall not be valid unless such person is given written or electronic notice of such waiver prior to receiving such services and knowingly and willfully agrees to such waiver.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-199 , enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 3/HB 225.)

Law reviews. - For annual survey on commercial transportation, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 41 (2017).

40-1-200. Inapplicability to equine drawn or other nonmotorized vehicles.

This part shall not be applicable to equine drawn vehicles or nonmotorized vehicles.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-200 , enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 1262, § 3/HB 225.)

PART 5 G EORGIA PEER-TO-PEER CAR-SHARING PROGRAM

Effective date. - This part became effective January 1, 2021.

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 1/HB 337, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Georgia Peer-to-Peer Car-Sharing Program Act'."

40-1-220. Definitions.

As used in this part, the term:

  1. "Car-sharing delivery period" means the period of time during which a shared vehicle is being delivered to the location of the car-sharing start time, if applicable, as documented in the records of a peer-to-peer car-sharing program.
  2. "Car-sharing period" means the period of time that commences with the car-sharing delivery period or, if there is no car-sharing delivery period, the period of time that commences with the car-sharing start time and in either case ends at the car-sharing termination time.
  3. "Car-sharing program agreement" means the terms and conditions applicable to a shared vehicle owner and a shared vehicle driver that govern the use of a shared vehicle through a peer-to-peer car-sharing program. Such term shall not include a rental agreement as defined in Code Section 40-2-167 or a lease or rental as defined in paragraph (17) of Code Section 48-8-2.
  4. "Car-sharing start time" means the time when a shared vehicle becomes subject to the control of a shared vehicle driver at or after the time the reservation of a shared vehicle is scheduled to begin, as documented in the records of a peer-to-peer car-sharing program.
  5. "Car-sharing termination time" means the earliest of the following events:
    1. The expiration of the agreed period of time established for the use of a shared vehicle according to the car-sharing program agreement if the shared vehicle is delivered to the location agreed upon in the car-sharing program agreement;
    2. When a shared vehicle is returned to a location as alternatively agreed upon by the shared vehicle owner and shared vehicle driver as communicated through a peer-to-peer car-sharing program; or
    3. When the shared vehicle owner takes possession and control of the shared vehicle.
  6. "Department" means the Department of Insurance of the State of Georgia established by Code Section 33-2-1.
  7. "Peer-to-peer car-sharing" means the authorized use of a vehicle by an individual other than the vehicle's owner through a peer-to-peer car-sharing program. Such term shall not include a rental motor vehicle or rental agreement as defined in Code Section 40-2-167.
  8. "Peer-to-peer car-sharing program" means a business platform that connects vehicle owners with drivers to enable the sharing of vehicles for financial consideration. Such term shall not mean a service provider who is solely providing hardware or software as a service to an individual or entity that is not effectuating payment of financial consideration for use of a shared vehicle. Such term shall not include a motor vehicle rental company as defined in Code Section 40-2-167.
  9. "Shared vehicle" means a used vehicle that is available for sharing through a peer-to-peer car-sharing program. Such term shall not include a rental motor vehicle as defined in Code Section 40-2-167.
  10. "Shared vehicle driver" means an individual who has been authorized by a shared vehicle owner to drive a shared vehicle under a car-sharing program agreement.
  11. "Shared vehicle owner" means the registered owner of a vehicle made available for sharing through a peer-to-peer car-sharing program or a person or entity designated by the registered owner of such a vehicle.
  12. "Used vehicle" means any vehicle which has been the subject of a sale at retail to the general public. (Code 1981, § 40-1-220 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 2/HB 337.)

40-1-221. Assumption of liability; insurance.

    1. A peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall assume liability, except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, of a shared vehicle owner for any bodily injury or property damage to third parties or an uninsured and underinsured motorist or personal injury protection losses during the car-sharing period in an amount stated in the car-sharing program agreement, which amount may not be less than those set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 33-7-11.
    2. The assumption of liability under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply if a shared vehicle owner:
      1. Made an intentional or fraudulent material misrepresentation or omission to the peer-to-peer car-sharing program before the car-sharing period in which the loss occurred; or
      2. Acted or acts in concert with a shared vehicle driver who fails to return the shared vehicle pursuant to the terms of the car-sharing program agreement.
    3. The assumption of liability under paragraph (1) of this subsection applies to bodily injury, property damage, and uninsured and underinsured motorist or personal injury protection losses by damaged third parties as required under subsection (a) of Code Section 33-7-11.
  1. A peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall ensure that, during each car-sharing period, the shared vehicle owner and the shared vehicle driver are insured under a motor vehicle liability insurance policy that:
    1. Either:
      1. Recognizes that the vehicle insured under the policy is made available and used through a peer-to-peer car-sharing program; or
      2. Does not exclude the use of a shared vehicle by a shared vehicle driver;
    2. Provides insurance coverage in amounts no less than the minimum amounts set forth in subparagraph (a)(1)(A) of Code Section 33-7-11; and
    3. Provides that in the event an accident occurs outside of this state in a jurisdiction that has a financial responsibility law or similar law specifying limits of liability higher than those required in this state, such motor vehicle liability insurance policy will provide the higher specified limits.
  2. The insurance requirement described under subsection (b) of this Code section may be satisfied by motor vehicle liability insurance maintained by:
    1. A shared vehicle owner;
    2. A shared vehicle driver;
    3. A peer-to-peer car-sharing program; or
    4. Both a shared vehicle owner, a shared vehicle driver, and a peer-to-peer car-sharing program.
  3. The insurance described in subsection (c) of this Code section that is satisfying the insurance requirement of subsection (b) of this Code section shall be primary during each car-sharing period.
  4. The peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall assume primary liability for a claim when:
    1. Such program is in whole or in part providing the insurance required under subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section;
    2. A dispute exists as to who was in control of the shared vehicle at the time of the loss; and
    3. Such program does not have available, did not retain, or fails to provide the information required by Code Section 40-1-224.
  5. The shared vehicle's insurer shall indemnify the car-sharing program to the extent of its obligation under, if any, the applicable insurance policy, if it is determined that the shared vehicle's owner was in control of the shared vehicle at the time of the loss.
  6. If insurance maintained by a shared vehicle owner or shared vehicle driver in accordance with subsection (c) of this Code section has lapsed or does not provide the required coverage, insurance maintained by a peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall provide the coverage required by subsection (b) of this Code section beginning with the first dollar of a claim and shall have the duty to defend such claim except under the circumstances set forth in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section.
  7. Coverage under an automobile insurance policy maintained by the peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall not be dependent on another automobile insurer first denying a claim nor shall another automobile insurance policy be required to first deny a claim.
  8. If the insurance described in subsection (b) of this Code section is maintained by a peer-to-peer car-sharing program, it must be placed with an insurer admitted to do business in this state for the purpose of writing insurance and licensed under Title 33, or with a surplus lines insurer who is a nonadmitted insurer and eligible under Chapter 5 of Title 33, that has a credit rating from a rating agency in the highest rating category as approved by the department.
  9. A shared vehicle driver must at all times during the car-sharing period carry proof of coverage satisfying subsection (b) of this Code section. In the event of an accident, a shared vehicle driver shall disclose that he or she was driving a shared vehicle at the time of such accident and shall, pursuant to Code Section 40-6-10, provide the insurance coverage information satisfying subsection (b) of this Code section to the directly interested parties, automobile insurers, and law enforcement officers.
  10. Nothing in this chapter:
    1. Limits the liability of the peer-to-peer car-sharing program for any act or omission of the peer-to-peer car-sharing program itself that results in injury to any person as a result of the use of a shared vehicle through a peer-to-peer car-sharing program; or
    2. Limits the ability of the peer-to-peer car-sharing program to, by contract, seek indemnification from a shared vehicle owner or shared vehicle driver for economic loss sustained by the peer-to-peer car-sharing program resulting from a breach of the terms and conditions of the car-sharing program agreement. (Code 1981, § 40-1-221 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 2/HB 337.)

40-1-222. Notification of lien on vehicle.

At the time a vehicle owner registers as a shared vehicle owner on a peer-to-peer car-sharing program and before the shared vehicle owner makes the vehicle available for sharing on such program, the peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall notify the shared vehicle owner that, if the shared vehicle has a lien against it, the use of such shared vehicle through a peer-to-peer car-sharing program, including use without physical damage coverage, may violate the terms of the contract with the lienholder.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-222 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 2/HB 337.)

40-1-223. Exclusion of insurance coverage for shared vehicle.

  1. An authorized insurer that writes motor vehicle liability insurance in this state may exclude any and all coverage and the duty to defend or indemnify for any claim afforded under a shared vehicle owner's motor vehicle liability insurance policy, including but not limited to:
    1. Liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage;
    2. Personal injury protection coverage;
    3. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage;
    4. Medical payments coverage;
    5. Comprehensive coverage; and
    6. Collision coverage.
  2. Nothing in this part shall be construed to invalidate or limit an exclusion contained in a motor vehicle liability insurance policy, including any insurance policy in use or approved for use that excludes coverage for motor vehicles made available for rent, sharing, or hire or for any business use. (Code 1981, § 40-1-223 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 2/HB 337.)

40-1-224. Collection, verification, and retention of records.

A peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall collect and verify records pertaining to the use of a vehicle, including, but not limited to, times used, fees paid by the shared vehicle driver, and revenues received by the shared vehicle owner, and shall provide that information upon request to the shared vehicle owner, the shared vehicle owner's insurer, or the shared vehicle driver's insurer to facilitate a claim coverage investigation. The peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall retain the records for a time period not less than the applicable personal injury statute of limitations.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-224 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 2/HB 337.)

40-1-225. Exemption from vicarious liability.

A peer-to-peer car-sharing program and a shared vehicle owner shall be exempt from vicarious liability consistent with 49 U.S.C. Section 30106, as such existed on January 1, 2020, and under any state or local law that imposes liability solely based on vehicle ownership.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-225 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 2/HB 337.)

U.S. Code. - Section 30106 of 49 U.S.C., referred to in this Code section, concerns rented or leased motor vehicle safety and responsibility.

40-1-226. Right to seek contribution.

A motor vehicle insurer that defends or indemnifies a claim against a shared vehicle that is excluded under the terms of its policy shall have the right to seek contribution against the motor vehicle insurer of the peer-to-peer car-sharing program if the claim is:

  1. Made against the shared vehicle owner or the shared vehicle driver for loss or injury that occurs during the car-sharing period; and
  2. Excluded under the terms of its policy. (Code 1981, § 40-1-226 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 2/HB 337.)

40-1-227. Insurable interests.

  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall have an insurable interest in a shared vehicle during the car-sharing period.
  2. Except as provided in Code Section 40-1-226, nothing in this part creates a liability on a peer-to-peer car-sharing program to maintain the coverage mandated by this part.
  3. A peer-to-peer car-sharing program may own and maintain as the named insured one or more policies of motor vehicle liability insurance that provides coverage for:
    1. Liabilities assumed by the peer-to-peer car-sharing program under a car-sharing program agreement;
    2. Any liability of the shared vehicle owner;
    3. Damage or loss to the shared motor vehicle; or
    4. Any liability of the shared vehicle driver. (Code 1981, § 40-1-227 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 2/HB 337.)

40-1-228. Required disclosures in car-sharing program agreements.

Each car-sharing program agreement made in this state shall disclose to the shared vehicle owner and the shared vehicle driver:

  1. Any right of the peer-to-peer car-sharing program to seek indemnification from the shared vehicle owner or the shared vehicle driver for economic loss sustained by the peer-to-peer car-sharing program resulting from a breach of the terms and conditions of the car-sharing program agreement;
  2. That a motor vehicle liability insurance policy issued to the shared vehicle owner for the shared vehicle or to the shared vehicle driver does not provide a defense or indemnification for any claim asserted by the peer-to-peer car-sharing program;
  3. That the peer-to-peer car-sharing program's insurance coverage on the shared vehicle owner and the shared vehicle driver is in effect only during each car-sharing period and that, for any use of the shared vehicle by the shared vehicle driver after the car-sharing termination time or use by a driver not disclosed in the car-sharing program agreement, the shared vehicle driver and the shared vehicle owner may not have insurance coverage;
  4. The daily rate, fees, and, if applicable, any insurance or protection package costs that are charged to the shared vehicle owner or the shared vehicle driver;
  5. That the shared vehicle owner's motor vehicle liability insurance may specifically exclude or otherwise may not provide coverage for a shared vehicle;
  6. An emergency telephone number to personnel capable of fielding roadside assistance and other customer service inquiries; and
  7. If there are conditions under which a shared vehicle driver must maintain a personal automobile insurance policy with certain applicable coverage limits on a primary basis in order to reserve or use a shared motor vehicle. (Code 1981, § 40-1-228 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 2/HB 337.)

40-1-229. Requirements for drivers in peer-to-peer car-sharing program; record keeping.

  1. A peer-to-peer car-sharing program may not enter into a car-sharing program agreement with a driver unless the driver who will operate the shared vehicle:
    1. Holds a driver's license issued under Code Section 40-5-28 that authorizes the driver to operate vehicles of the class of the shared vehicle;
    2. Is a nonresident who:
      1. Has a driver's license issued by the state or country of such driver's residence that authorizes such driver in that state or country to drive vehicles of the class of the shared vehicle; and
      2. Is at least the same age as that required of a Georgia resident to drive; or
    3. Otherwise is specifically authorized by the Department of Driver Services to drive vehicles of the class of the shared vehicle.
  2. A peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall keep a record of the:
    1. Name and address of the shared vehicle driver;
    2. Driver's license number of the shared vehicle driver and each other person, if any, who will operate the shared vehicle; and
    3. Date and place of issuance of the driver's license. (Code 1981, § 40-1-229 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 2/HB 337.)

40-1-230. Vehicle equipment.

A peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall have sole responsibility for any equipment, such as a GPS system or other special equipment, that is put in or on the vehicle to monitor or facilitate the car-sharing transaction and shall agree to indemnify and hold harmless the shared vehicle owner for any damage to or theft of such equipment during the car-sharing period not caused by such owner. The peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall have the right to seek indemnity from the shared vehicle driver for any loss or damage to such equipment that occurs during the car-sharing period.

(Code 1981, § 40-1-230 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 2/HB 337.)

40-1-231. Prerequisites for sharing vehicles; impact of safety recalls.

  1. At the time a vehicle owner registers as a shared vehicle owner on a peer-to-peer car-sharing program and before the shared vehicle owner makes the vehicle available for sharing on such program, the peer-to-peer car-sharing program shall:
    1. Verify that the shared vehicle does not have any safety recalls on the vehicle for which the repairs have not been made; and
    2. Notify the shared vehicle owner of the requirements under subsection (b) of this Code section.
    1. If the shared vehicle owner has received an actual notice of a safety recall on the vehicle, a shared vehicle owner may not make a vehicle available as a shared vehicle on a peer-to-peer car-sharing program unless and until such safety recall repair has been made.
    2. If a shared vehicle owner receives an actual notice of a safety recall on a shared vehicle while the shared vehicle is made available on the peer-to-peer car-sharing program, the shared vehicle owner shall remove such shared vehicle as available on the peer-to-peer car-sharing program, as soon as practicably possible after receiving the notice of the safety recall and until the safety recall repair has been made.
    3. If a shared vehicle owner receives an actual notice of a safety recall while the shared vehicle is being used in the possession of a shared vehicle driver, as soon as practicably possible after receiving such notice of the safety recall, the shared vehicle owner shall notify the peer-to-peer car-sharing program regarding such safety recall so that the shared vehicle owner may address the safety recall repair. (Code 1981, § 40-1-231 , enacted by Ga. L. 2020, p. 310, § 2/HB 337.)

CHAPTER 2 REGISTRATION AND LICENSING OF MOTOR VEHICLES

General Provisions.

Registration and Licensing Generally.

Fleet Vehicles.

Prestige License Plates and Special Plates for Certain Persons and Vehicles.

Reciprocal Agreements for Registration of Commercial Vehicles.

Vehicles of Nonresidents.

Unregistered Motor Trucks.

Administration and Enforcement of Chapter.

Administration of Federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005.

Motor Vehicle License Fees and Classes.

Cross references. - General duty of Georgia State Patrol to check motor vehicles for proper licensing, § 35-2-33 .

Procedure when date for payment of tax or license fee falls on Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, § 48-2-39 .

Ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles, § 48-5-440 et seq.

Motor vehicle license fees, T. 48, C. 10.

Editor's notes. - Since the purpose of Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, was to "revise, reorganize, modernize, consolidate, and clarify" laws relating to certain aspects of the motor vehicle code, wherever it was possible to do so, other Acts amending Title 40 were construed in conjunction with Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048. This construction particularly includes Acts amending a given Code section when the Code section was later renumbered or redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Georgia Power Co. v. Musgrove, 77 Ga. App. 880 , 50 S.E.2d 118 (1948); Freeman v. Ryder Truck Lines, 244 Ga. 80 , 259 S.E.2d 36 (1979).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Probate courts lack jurisdiction as to violations. - Probate courts have no authority or jurisdiction in violations arising under the motor vehicle and traffic law. 1965-66 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 65-18.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR. - License tax or fee on automobiles as affected by interstate commerce clause, 25 A.L.R. 37 ; 52 A.L.R. 533 ; 115 A.L.R. 1105 .

Civil rights and liabilities as affected by failure to comply with regulations as to registration of automobile or motorcycle, or licensing of operator, 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 .

Validity of automobile registration or license fee as affected by classification or discrimination, 126 A.L.R. 1419 .

Unlicensed automobile owned by insured as "owned automobile" within language of automobile liability insurance, 21 A.L.R.4th 918.

ARTICLE 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS

40-2-1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the term:

  1. "Cancellation of vehicle registration" means the annulment or termination by formal action of the department of a person's vehicle registration because of an error or defect in the registration or because the person is no longer entitled to such registration. The cancellation of registration is without prejudice, and application for a new registration may be made at any time after such cancellation.
  2. "Commissioner" means the state revenue commissioner.
  3. "Department" means the Department of Revenue.
  4. "For-hire intrastate motor carrier" means an entity engaged in the transportation of goods or ten or more passengers for compensation wholly within the boundaries of this state.
  5. "Intrastate motor carrier" means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle operated by an entity that is used on a highway in intrastate commerce to transport passengers or property and:
    1. Has a gross vehicle weight rating, gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight, or gross combination weight of 4,536 kg (10,001 lbs.) or more, whichever is greater;
    2. Is designed or used to transport more than ten passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
    3. Is used to transport material found by the United States Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous pursuant to 49 U.S.C. Section 5103 and is transported in any quantity.
  6. "Motor carrier" means:
    1. Any entity subject to the terms of the Unified Carrier Registration Agreement pursuant to 49 U.S.C. Section 14504a whether engaged in interstate or intrastate commerce, or both; or
    2. Any entity defined by the commissioner or commissioner of public safety who operates or controls commercial motor vehicles as defined in 49 C.F.R. Section 390.5 or this chapter whether operated in interstate or intrastate commerce, or both.
  7. "Operating authority" means the registration required by 49 U.S.C. Section 13902, 49 C.F.R. Part 365, 49 C.F.R. Part 368, and 49 C.F.R. Section 392.9a.
  8. "Regulatory compliance inspection" means the examination of facilities, property, buildings, vehicles, drivers, employees, cargo, packages, records, books, or supporting documentation kept or required to be kept in the normal course of motor carrier business or enterprise operations.
  9. "Resident" means a person who has a permanent home or domicile in Georgia and to which, having been absent, he or she has the intention of returning. For the purposes of this chapter, there is a rebuttable presumption that any person who, except for infrequent, brief absences, has been present in the state for 30 or more days is a resident.
  10. "Revocation of vehicle registration" means the termination by formal action of the department of a vehicle registration, which registration shall not be subject to renewal or reinstatement, except that an application for a new registration may be presented and acted upon by the department after the expiration of the applicable period of time prescribed by law.
  11. "Suspension of vehicle registration" means the temporary withdrawal by formal action of the department of a vehicle registration, which temporary withdrawal shall be for a period specifically designated by the department. (Code 1981, § 40-2-1 ; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1991, p. 327, § 1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 3-1; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1024, § 1; Ga. L. 2005, p. 334, § 14-1/HB 501; Ga. L. 2009, p. 629, § 1/HB 57; Ga. L. 2012, p. 580, § 8/HB 865; Ga. L. 2015, p. 60, § 4-3/SB 100; Ga. L. 2016, p. 864, § 40/HB 737.)

The 2016 amendment, effective May 3, 2016, part of an Act to revise, modernize, and correct the Code, revised punctuation in paragraph (1).

Editor's notes. - This Code section was created as part of the Code revision and was thus enacted by Ga. L. 1981, Ex. Sess., p. 8 (Code Enactment Act).

Ga. L. 2002, p. 1024, § 7, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall become effective November 1, 2002; provided, however, that the Act shall be effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval for the purposes of the authority of the commissioner to adopt rules and regulations and to employ staff and expend moneys within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available for such purpose."

Ga. L. 2015, p. 60, § 6-1/SB 100, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Section 4-9 of Part IV of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2016, and all other parts of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2015, and shall apply to offenses which occur on or after that date."

40-2-2. Violations of chapter generally; penalties.

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(Ga. L. 1925, p. 315, § 2; Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 26; Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Code 1933, §§ 68-9902, 68-9908; Ga. L. 1953, Jan.-Feb. Sess., p. 366, § 5; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Floyd v. State, 186 Ga. 445 , 197 S.E. 837 (1938); Hawkins v. State, 58 Ga. App. 386 , 198 S.E. 551 (1938); American Bakeries Co. v. Johnson, 59 Ga. App. 150 , 200 S.E. 485 (1938); Passley v. State, 62 Ga. App. 88 , 8 S.E.2d 131 (1940); Newmans v. State, 65 Ga. App. 288 , 16 S.E.2d 87 (1941); Gooseby v. Pinson Tire Co., 65 Ga. App. 837 , 16 S.E.2d 767 (1941); Collins v. State, 66 Ga. App. 325 , 18 S.E.2d 24 (1941); Williams v. Grier, 196 Ga. 327 , 26 S.E.2d 698 (1943); Gallahar v. George A. Rheman Co., 50 F. Supp. 655 (S.D. Ga. 1943); Bentley v. State, 70 Ga. App. 494 , 28 S.E.2d 658 (1944); Thomas v. State, 73 Ga. App. 803 , 38 S.E.2d 188 (1946); Smith v. AMOCO, 77 Ga. App. 463 , 49 S.E.2d 90 (1948); Dodd v. State, 85 Ga. App. 589 , 69 S.E.2d 784 (1952); Hammond v. Young, 89 Ga. App. 669 , 80 S.E.2d 825 (1954); DOT v. Del-Cook Timber Co., 248 Ga. 734 , 285 S.E.2d 913 (1982).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Probate courts lack jurisdiction as to violations. - Probate courts have no authority or jurisdiction in violations arising under the motor vehicle and traffic law. 1965-66 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 65-18.

Dealer using tags for other than demonstrating or transporting vehicles. - Dealer who permits dealer tags to be used for purposes other than demonstrating or transporting dealer-owned vehicles for sale may and should be prosecuted for a misdemeanor under the provision of former Code 1933, §§ 68-9902 and 66-9908, (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-2-2 ), but the tags may not properly be picked up by a law enforcement officer unless the dealer registration has been revoked for cause. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 472.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 21 Am. Jur. 2d, Criminal Law, §§ 1, 5, 19, 26 et seq.

C.J.S. - 61A C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 1504 et seq., 1748 et seq.

ALR. - Civil rights and liabilities as affected by failure to comply with regulations as to registration of automobile or motorcycle, or licensing of operator, 54 A.L.R. 374 .

40-2-3. False statement in application as constituting false swearing.

Any person who shall make any false statement in any application for the registration of any vehicle, or in transferring any certificate of registration, or in applying for a new certificate of registration, shall be guilty of false swearing, whether or not an oath is actually administered to him, if such statement shall purport to be under oath. On conviction of such offense, such person shall be punished as provided by Code Section 16-10-71.

(Ga. L. 1925, p. 315, § 2; Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Code 1933, § 68-9902; Ga. L. 1953, Jan.-Feb. Sess., p. 366, § 5; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Lesser included offenses. - Operating motor vehicle without insurance is not lesser included offense of false swearing. Bowen v. State, 173 Ga. App. 361 , 326 S.E.2d 525 (1985).

Cited in Holland v. State, 172 Ga. App. 444 , 323 S.E.2d 632 (1984).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 255. 21 Am. Jur. 2d, Criminal Law, §§ 1, 5, 19, 26 et seq.

40-2-4. Manufacture of plates and decals prohibited.

  1. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to make, sell, or issue any license plate or revalidation decal.
  2. Any person, firm, or corporation violating subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

    (Ga. L. 1921, p. 255, § 11; Code 1933, §§ 68-216, 68-9905; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2.)

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Only the State of Georgia may manufacture license tags, and the supervisor of purchases (now Department of Administrative Services) is not authorized to process a requisition for license plates to any individual person, firm, or corporation. 1960-61 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 297.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 21 Am. Jur. 2d, Criminal Law, §§ 1, 5, 19, 26 et seq.

C.J.S. - 61A C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 1636 et seq.

ALR. - Civil rights and liabilities as affected by failure to comply with regulations as to registration of automobile or motorcycle, or licensing of operator, 54 A.L.R. 374 .

40-2-5. Unlawful actions relating to license plate; use of expired prestige license plate.

  1. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, it shall be unlawful:
    1. To remove or transfer a license plate from the motor vehicle for which such license plate was issued;
    2. To sell or otherwise transfer or dispose of a license plate upon or for use on any motor vehicle other than the vehicle for which such license plate was issued;
    3. To buy, receive, use, or possess for use on a motor vehicle any license plate not issued for use on such motor vehicle; or
    4. To operate a motor vehicle bearing a license plate which was improperly removed or transferred from another vehicle.
  2. Any person who shall knowingly violate any provision of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500.00 or by confinement for not more than 12 months, or both.
  3. It shall not be unlawful for any person to place an expired prestige license plate on the front of a motor vehicle provided that such vehicle also bears a current valid license plate on the rear of such vehicle.

    (Ga. L. 1918, p. 264, §§ 1, 2; Code 1933, § 68-9916; Ga. L. 1966, p. 10, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 1657, § 2; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2.)

Law reviews. - For note on 1990 amendment of this Code section, see 7 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 329 (1990).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Revalidation decal not covered by statute. - Although the revalidation decal found on the defendant's vehicle had been stolen from another vehicle the prior month, the offense of use of a license plate to conceal the identity of a vehicle in O.C.G.A. § 40-2-5 covered license plates but not revalidation decals; and there was no evidence that the license plate on the defendant's vehicle was removed or transferred from another vehicle, or that the defendant committed any other act addressed in the statute. Kea v. State, 344 Ga. App. 251 , 810 S.E.2d 152 (2018).

Traffic stop based on suspicion of license plate violation. - Trial court did not err in denying motions to supress filed by the two defendants because the officer: (1) had a reasonable and sufficient basis for initiating a traffic stop of the car the defendants were traveling in based on a belief that the license plate on the subject vehicle might have belonged on another car, and hence, was illegally transferred; and (2) did not improperly prolong the stop once the defendants told conflicting stories of the defendants' travels and one declined to grant the officer consent to search. Andrews v. State, 289 Ga. App. 679 , 658 S.E.2d 126 (2008), cert. denied, No. S08C0963, 2008 Ga. LEXIS 507 (Ga. 2008).

Lesser included offenses. - Misdemeanor offense of affixing to a vehicle a license plate not authorized for use on that vehicle is not a lesser included offense of the felony of using a motor vehicle license plate upon a vehicle for which the plate was not issued. Dismuke v. State, 142 Ga. App. 381 , 236 S.E.2d 12 (1977).

Nondisclosure that vehicle was rebuilt. - When the certificate of title which defendant obtained for automobile did not disclose on the title's face that the vehicle had been rebuilt, the jury was authorized to conclude that the defendant had knowingly concealed or misrepresented the identity thereof. Martin v. State, 160 Ga. App. 275 , 287 S.E.2d 244 (1981).

Jury to decide tag issue. - Court of Appeals of Georgia rejected a defendant's sufficiency of the evidence challenge as it was for the jury to accept or reject the defendant's explanations as to whether the operation of a Mercury bearing a Ford tag was improper and knowing. Rylee v. State, 288 Ga. App. 784 , 655 S.E.2d 239 (2007).

Rule of lenity did not apply. - Because the defendant was convicted and sentenced for a violation of No. S08C0963, O.C.G.A. § 40-2-5 , and not of a violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-7 , for the single and distinct offense of operating a motor vehicle bearing an improper tag, the Court of Appeals of Georgia had no occasion to apply the rule of lenity. Rylee v. State, 288 Ga. App. 784 , 655 S.E.2d 239 (2007).

Cited in Flynn v. State, 88 Ga. App. 709 , 77 S.E.2d 559 (1953); Daniel v. State, 118 Ga. App. 370 , 163 S.E.2d 863 (1968); Walker v. State, 130 Ga. App. 860 , 205 S.E.2d 49 (1974); Rogers v. State, 185 Ga. App. 211 , 363 S.E.2d 846 (1987); Northern v. State, 285 Ga. App. 303 , 645 S.E.2d 701 (2007).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR. - Civil rights and liabilities as affected by failure to comply with regulations as to registration of automobile or motorcycle, or licensing of operator, 54 A.L.R. 374 .

40-2-6. Alteration of license plates; operation of vehicle with altered or improperly transferred plate.

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any person who shall willfully mutilate, obliterate, deface, alter, change, or conceal any numeral, letter, character, county designation, or other marking of any license plate issued under the motor vehicle registration laws of this state; who shall knowingly operate a vehicle bearing a license plate on which any numeral, letter, character, county designation, or other marking has been willfully mutilated, obliterated, defaced, altered, changed, or concealed; or who shall knowingly operate a vehicle bearing a license plate issued for another vehicle and not properly transferred as provided by law shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(Code 1933, § 68-9929, enacted by Ga. L. 1957, p. 626, § 1; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1991, p. 1145, § 1; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 2.)

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Traffic stop based on suspicion of license plate violation. - Trial court did not err in denying motions to supress filed by the two defendants because the officer: (1) had a reasonable and sufficient basis for initiating a traffic stop of the car the defendants were traveling in based on a belief that the license plate on the subject vehicle might have belonged on another car, and hence, was illegally transferred; and (2) did not improperly prolong the stop once the defendants told conflicting stories of the defendants' travels and one declined to grant the officer consent to search. Andrews v. State, 289 Ga. App. 679 , 658 S.E.2d 126 (2008), cert. denied, No. S08C0963, 2008 Ga. LEXIS 507 (Ga. 2008).

Cited in Undercofler v. White, 113 Ga. App. 853 , 149 S.E.2d 845 (1966); Self v. State, 245 Ga. App. 270 , 537 S.E.2d 723 (2000); Dodds v. State, 288 Ga. App. 231 , 653 S.E.2d 828 (2007); Thompson v. State, 289 Ga. App. 661 , 658 S.E.2d 122 (2007); Hernandez-Lopez v. State, 319 Ga. App. 662 , 738 S.E.2d 116 (2013); Jenkins v. State, 345 Ga. App. 684 , 813 S.E.2d 438 (2018), cert. denied, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 807 (Ga. 2018).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 257. 21 Am. Jur. 2d, Criminal Law, §§ 1, 5, 19, 26 et seq.

C.J.S. - 61A C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 1636 et seq.

ALR. - Civil rights and liabilities as affected by failure to comply with regulations as to registration of automobile or motorcycle, or licensing of operator, 54 A.L.R. 374 .

Validity and construction of statute making it a criminal offense to "tamper" with motor vehicle or contents, or to obscure registration plates, 57 A.L.R.3d 606.

40-2-6.1. Obscuring license plate in order to impede surveillance equipment.

Any person who willfully covers any license plate with plastic, other material, or any part of his or her body in order to prevent or impede the ability of surveillance equipment to clearly photograph or otherwise obtain a clear image of the license plate is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00.

(Code 1981, § 40-2-6.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 2005, p. 691, § 1/SB 93.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Violation allowed law enforcement officer to make valid traffic stop. - Defendant's commission of a traffic offense pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 40-2-6.1 allowed an officer to make a valid traffic stop of the defendant's vehicle. Thomas v. State, 289 Ga. App. 161 , 657 S.E.2d 247 (2008), cert. dismissed, No. S08C0959, 2008 Ga. LEXIS 491 (Ga. 2008).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting of offenders not required. - This offense is not one for which those charged with a violation are to be fingerprinted. 2006 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 2006-2.

40-2-7. Removing or affixing license plate with intent to conceal or misrepresent.

A person who removes a license plate from a vehicle or affixes to a vehicle a license plate not authorized by law for use on it, in either case with intent to conceal or misrepresent the identity of the vehicle or its owner, is guilty of a misdemeanor. As used in this Code section, "remove" includes deface or destroy.

(Ga. L. 1961, p. 68, § 34; Ga. L. 1990, p. 8, § 40; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under Ga. L. 1966, p. 10, § 1 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Intent to misrepresent. - Evidence was ample to support defendant's conviction for intending to misrepresent or conceal the identity of the stolen vehicle the defendant possessed or the vehicle's owner as the evidence showed that the defendant knew that the license tag did not belong on the vehicle and that the defendant affixed that license plate to keep the city from learning that the vehicle was abandoned. Rose v. State, 258 Ga. App. 232 , 573 S.E.2d 465 (2002).

Not lesser included offense of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-5 offense. - Misdemeanor offense of affixing to a vehicle a license plate not authorized for use on that vehicle is not a lesser included offense of the felony offense of using a motor vehicle license plate upon a vehicle for which the plate was not issued. Dismuke v. State, 142 Ga. App. 381 , 236 S.E.2d 12 (1977) (decided under Ga. L. 1966, p. 10, § 1).

Rule of lenity did not apply. - Because the defendant was convicted and sentenced for a violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-5 , and not for a violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-7 , for the single and distinct offense of operating a motor vehicle bearing an improper tag, the Court of Appeals of Georgia had no occasion to apply the rule of lenity. Rylee v. State, 288 Ga. App. 784 , 655 S.E.2d 239 (2007).

Cited in Barron v. State, 109 Ga. App. 786 , 137 S.E.2d 690 (1964); Law v. State, 110 Ga. App. 364 , 138 S.E.2d 588 (1964); Undercofler v. White, 113 Ga. App. 853 , 149 S.E.2d 845 (1966); Daniel v. State, 118 Ga. App. 370 , 163 S.E.2d 863 (1968); Walker v. State, 130 Ga. App. 860 , 205 S.E.2d 49 (1974); Northern v. State, 285 Ga. App. 303 , 645 S.E.2d 701 (2007).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 257, 392.

ALR. - Validity and construction of statute making it a criminal offense to "tamper" with motor vehicle or contents, or to obscure registration plates, 57 A.L.R.3d 606.

40-2-8. Operation of unregistered vehicle or vehicle without current license plate, revalidation decal, or county decal; temporary plate issued by dealers of new or used motor vehicles.

  1. Any person owning or operating any vehicle described in Code Section 40-2-20 on any public highway or street without complying with that Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, provided that a person shall register his or her motor vehicle within 30 days after becoming a resident of this state. Any person renting, leasing, or loaning any vehicle described in Code Section 40-2-20 which is being used on any public highway or street without complying with that Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of $100.00 for each violation; and each day that such vehicle is operated in violation of Code Section 40-2-20 shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct offense.
    1. Reserved.
      1. It shall be a misdemeanor to operate any vehicle required to be registered in the State of Georgia without a valid numbered license plate properly validated, unless such operation is otherwise permitted under this chapter; and provided, further, that the purchaser of a new vehicle or a used vehicle from a dealer of new or used motor vehicles who displays a temporary plate issued as provided by subparagraph (B) of this paragraph may operate such vehicle on the public highways and streets of this state without a current valid license plate during the period within which the purchaser is required by Code Section 40-2-20. An owner acquiring a motor vehicle from an entity that is not a new or used vehicle dealer shall register such vehicle as provided for in Code Section 40-2-29 unless such vehicle is to be registered under the International Registration Plan pursuant to Article 3A of this chapter.
        1. Any dealer of new or used motor vehicles shall issue to the purchaser of a vehicle at the time of sale thereof, unless such vehicle is to be registered under the International Registration Plan, a temporary plate as provided for by department rules or regulations which may bear the dealer's name and location and shall bear an expiration date 45 days from the date of purchase. The expiration date of such a temporary plate may be revised and extended by the county tag agent upon application by the dealer, the purchaser, or the transferee if an extension of the purchaser's initial registration period has been granted as provided by Code Section 40-2-20. Such temporary plate shall not resemble a license plate issued by this state and shall be issued without charge or fee. The requirements of this subparagraph shall not apply to a dealer whose primary business is the sale of salvage motor vehicles and other vehicles on which total loss claims have been paid by insurers.
        2. All temporary plates issued by dealers to purchasers of vehicles shall be of a standard design prescribed by regulation promulgated by the department. The department may provide by rule or regulation for the sale and distribution of such temporary plates by third parties in accordance with paragraph (3) of this subsection.
    2. All sellers and distributors of temporary license plates shall maintain an inventory record of temporary license plates by number and name of the dealer.
    3. The purchaser and operator of a vehicle shall not be subject to the penalties set forth in this Code section during the period allowed for the registration of such vehicle. If the owner of such vehicle presents evidence that such owner has properly applied for the registration of such vehicle, but that the license plate or revalidation decal has not been delivered to such owner, then the owner shall not be subject to the penalties enumerated in this subsection.
  2. It shall be unlawful and punishable as for a misdemeanor to operate any vehicle required to be registered in the State of Georgia without a valid county decal designating the county where the vehicle was last registered, unless such operation is otherwise permitted under this chapter. Any person convicted of such offense shall be punished by a fine of $25.00 for a first offense and $100.00 for a second or subsequent such offense. However, a county name decal shall not be required if there is no space provided for a county name decal on the current license plate.

    (Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 8; Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Ga. L. 1931, p. 213, § 2; Code 1933, §§ 68-214, 68-9901; Ga. L. 1943, p. 341, § 4; Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 343, Part 1, § 1; Ga. L. 1969, p. 266, § 3; Ga. L. 1977, p. 1039, § 1; Ga. L. 1980, p. 746, § 1; Ga. L. 1981, p. 714, § 4; Ga. L. 1982, p. 1584, §§ 2, 5; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1053, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2785, § 1.3; Ga. L. 1993, p. 1260, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 1; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 1; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 3; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 3; Ga. L. 2000, p. 523, § 1; Ga. L. 2001, p. 1173, § 1-1; Ga. L. 2002, p. 415, § 40; Ga. L. 2004, p. 631, § 40; Ga. L. 2005, p. 321, § 1/HB 455; Ga. L. 2005, p. 334, § 14-2/HB 501; Ga. L. 2010, p. 143, § 2/HB 1005; Ga. L. 2011, p. 479, § 10.1/HB 112; Ga. L. 2012, p. 804, § 1/HB 985; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40/HB 79; Ga. L. 2018, p. 287, § 2/HB 329; Ga. L. 2020, p. 669, § 1/HB 819.)

The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2019, in division (b)(2)(B)(i), substituted "bear an expiration date 45 days from the date of purchase" for "bear the expiration date of the period within which the purchaser is required by Code Section 40-2-20 to register such vehicle" at the end of the first sentence and substituted "shall not apply" for "do not apply" in the middle of the last sentence; and added "of such vehicle" at the end of the first sentence of paragraph (b)(4).

The 2020 amendment, effective August 4, 2020, substituted "Reserved." for "Any vehicle operated in the State of Georgia which is required to be registered and which does not have attached to the rear thereof a numbered license plate and current revalidation decal affixed to a corner or corners of the license plate as designated by the commissioner, if required, shall be stored at the owner's risk and expense by any law enforcement officer of the State of Georgia, unless such operation is otherwise permitted by this chapter." in paragraph (b)(1).

Cross references. - Jurisdiction over offenses under this Code section, § 40-13-22 .

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 22, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local law enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21, which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date of this Act." The act became effective January 1, 1997.

Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 17, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local Act enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21 which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date on this Act; provided, however, that any local Act enacted in 1996 pursuant to the provisions of Code Section 40-2-21 as enacted by Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, which local Act provides for a four-month staggered registration period for a county, shall not be repealed by the provisions of this Act, but the registration period for such county shall be as provided by subparagraph (a)(1)(B) of Code Section 40-2-21 as enacted by this Act and not as provided in such local Act."

Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 18, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Those parts of Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, an act amending Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and amending Article 10 of Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles and mobile homes, approved April 19, 1995, in conflict with this Act are repealed."

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Jurisdiction of federal court. - O.C.G.A. §§ 9-4-1 , 9-5-1 , 40-2-8 , 40-3-6 , 40-3-21 , and 48-2-59 provide plaintiff challenging automobile "title transfer fee" with "plain, speedy and efficient" pre-tax and post-tax remedies by which a taxpayer could challenge the constitutional validity of a state tax, and so satisfied the criteria of the Tax Injunction Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1341, so as to bar jurisdiction of the federal court. Johnsen v. Collins, 875 F. Supp. 1571 (S.D. Ga. 1994).

Vehicle in custody not subject to levy and sale. - Vehicle being in custody of the law while held pursuant to former Code 1933, §§ 68-214 and 68-9901 (see O.C.G.A. § 40-2-8 ), a levy of execution by a sheriff was void and no valid sale could be made pursuant thereto. Oxford v. Sanders, 217 Ga. 820 , 125 S.E.2d 483 (1962).

Investigatory stops for registration law violations. - Stopping a car with a drive-out tag solely to ascertain whether the driver was complying with Georgia's vehicle registration laws is not authorized; Burtts v. State, 211 Ga. App. 840 , 440 S.E.2d 727 (1994) is expressly overruled along with any other cases which would authorize a traffic stop solely because a vehicle was being operated with a dealer's drive-out tag. Bius v. State, 254 Ga. App. 634 , 563 S.E.2d 527 (2002).

Investigative stop justified. - Police officer was justified in approaching defendant to determine if the operation of defendant's vehicle with an expired out-of-state tag was in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-8 . Jordan v. State, 223 Ga. App. 176 , 477 S.E.2d 583 (1996).

Trial court properly denied the defendant's motion to suppress as the search was valid under Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. I, Para. XIII; the officer stopped the defendant based on a reasonable suspicion that the defendant was driving with an invalid drive-out tag in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-8 , and the defendant's tag was suspicious because the tag did not have a strip on the bottom to prevent tampering with the expiration date. Green v. State, 282 Ga. App. 5 , 637 S.E.2d 498 (2006).

State need not prove period of residence. - Allegation that the defendant had resided in the state for a period of 30 days or more was mere surplusage, and failure to prove the allegation did not constitute a fatal variance. Gibson v. State, 187 Ga. App. 769 , 371 S.E.2d 413 , cert. denied, 187 Ga. App. 907 , 371 S.E.2d 413 (1988).

State need not prove current owner of vehicle. - State presented sufficient evidence that the defendant had operated a motor vehicle with an expired Mississippi tag on a public street of Georgia in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-8(a) . Although the evidence did not show to whom the vehicle had been registered in Mississippi or whether the defendant had recently purchased the vehicle, the statute did authorize a finding that, regardless of who the current owner of the vehicle might actually be, the vehicle was not an automobile which was otherwise exempt from the requirement of registration in this state. Keyser v. State, 187 Ga. App. 95 , 369 S.E.2d 309 , cert. denied, 187 Ga. App. 908 , 369 S.E.2d 309 (1988).

Traffic stop for compliance not unreasonably prolonged. - As an officer's questioning of the defendant after a traffic stop about the defendant's length of time in Georgia was done to determine whether the defendant was in compliance with O.C.G.A. §§ 40-2-8(a) and 40-5-20(a) , and did not unreasonably prolong the stop, the defendant's rights under U.S. Const., amend. IV were not violated. Therefore, methamphetamine seized from the defendant's purse during the stop did not have to be suppressed. Sommese v. State, 299 Ga. App. 664 , 683 S.E.2d 642 (2009).

Evidence sufficient to sustain conviction. - Because the defendant admittedly lacked a driver's license, the tag on the car being driven was expired, and the defendant produced no evidence that the car had been recently purchased, and thus fell within the initial 30-day registration period during which a numbered license plate was not required, defendant's convictions were upheld on appeal. Arellano v. State, 289 Ga. App. 148 , 656 S.E.2d 264 (2008).

Evidence insufficient for conviction of driving without current license plate. - Testimony by officers that defendant's car had a temporary dealer tag was insufficient to support the charge of driving without a current license plate because the state presented no evidence that the tag on the car was not a valid temporary tag issued by a dealer at the time of sale. Brackins v. State, 249 Ga. App. 788 , 549 S.E.2d 775 (2001).

Cited in Undercofler v. White, 113 Ga. App. 853 , 149 S.E.2d 845 (1966); Garner v. State, 154 Ga. App. 839 , 269 S.E.2d 912 (1980); Wilder v. State, 192 Ga. App. 891 , 386 S.E.2d 685 (1989); Burtts v. State, 211 Ga. App. 840 , 440 S.E.2d 727 (1994).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Vehicles registered in another state required to obtain Georgia use permit. - Vehicles traveling in Georgia, registered in another state where the fees imposed are of such a nature as to be considered merely registration fees, should be required to obtain a Georgia highway use permit and identification tags and stickers pertinent thereto. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 477.

Mail order applicant not penalized until April 2, or 15 days after money order issued. - Mail order applicant cannot be subjected to civil penalties until April 2, or until the expiration of 15 days after the date of a proper money order receipt issued on or before April 1, whichever is later. 1958-59 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 209.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 60, 67, 84, 256 et seq. 21 Am. Jur. 2d, Criminal Law, §§ 1, 5, 19, 26 et seq.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 196, 282. 61A C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 1628 et seq.

ALR. - Civil rights and liabilities as affected by failure to comply with regulations as to registration of automobile or motorcycle, or licensing of operator, 16 A.L.R. 1108 ; 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 .

Applicability of motor vehicle regulations to public officials or employees, 23 A.L.R. 418 .

Improper use of automobile license plates as affecting liability or right to recover for injuries, death, or damages in consequence of automobile accident, 99 A.L.R.2d 904.

What constitutes plain, speedy, and efficient state remedy under Tax Injunction Act (28 USCS § 1341), prohibiting federal district courts from interfering with assessment, levy, or collection of state business taxes, 31 A.L.R. Fed. 2d 237.

40-2-8.1. Operation of vehicle without revalidation decal on license plate.

Notwithstanding Code Section 40-2-8 or any other provision of law, a person who operates a vehicle which is required to be registered in this state and which has attached to the rear thereof a valid numbered license plate without having the required revalidation decal affixed upon that plate, which person is otherwise guilty of a misdemeanor for not having such decal affixed to the plate, shall be subject for that offense only to a fine not to exceed $25.00 if that person shows to the court having jurisdiction of the offense that the proper revalidation decal had been obtained prior to the time of the offense.

(Code 1981, § 40-2-8.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 1993, p. 698, § 1.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Ray v. State, 292 Ga. App. 575 , 665 S.E.2d 345 (2008).

40-2-9. Space for county name decal; display of "In God We Trust" decal in lieu of county name decal.

  1. Any special, distinctive, or prestige license plate, except those provided for in Code Sections 40-2-61, 40-2-62, 40-2-74, 40-2-82, and 40-2-85.1 or as otherwise expressly provided in this chapter, shall contain a space for a county name decal. The provisions of this chapter relative to county name decals shall be applicable to all such license plates.
  2. The department shall make available to all license plates recipients a decal with the same dimensions as the county name decal that contains the words, "In God We Trust." The department shall provide such decal free of charge to any person requesting it. Such decal may be displayed in the space reserved for the county name decal in lieu of the county name decal. (Code 1981, § 40-2-77, enacted by Ga. L. 1985, p. 261, § 8; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1333, § 5; Ga. L. 1989, p. 1186, § 4; Code 1981, § 40-2-81 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Code 1981, § 40-2-9 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 2001, p. 479, § 3; Ga. L. 2008, p. 835, § 1/SB 437; Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-64/HB 1055; Ga. L. 2010, p. 143, § 2.1/HB 1005; Ga. L. 2012, p. 1070, § 1/SB 293.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2012, p. 1070, § 4/SB 293, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2012, and shall apply to license plates issued on or after such date."

40-2-10. Voluntary cancellation of vehicle registration.

A vehicle registrant may voluntarily cancel the registration on a vehicle when such vehicle is not in use for any reason, including without limitation if the vehicle is stolen, repossessed but not redeemed by the registrant, junked, inoperable, in storage, used seasonally for agricultural or other purposes, or if the owner is on active duty in the armed forces of the United States and is transferred to a duty station away from the location of the vehicle or is on active sea duty. A registration that has been voluntarily cancelled may be reinstated upon payment of all accrued ad valorem taxes and license fees, if any.

(Code 1981, § 40-2-10 , enacted by Ga. L. 2003, p. 261, § 1.)

Law reviews. - For note on the 2003 enactment of this Code section, see 20 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 208 (2003).

40-2-11. Administration of chapter.

  1. The commissioner shall be responsible for the administration of this chapter and may employ such clerical assistants and agents as may be necessary from time to time to enable the commissioner to speedily and efficiently perform the duties conferred on the commissioner in this chapter. The commissioner shall be authorized to delegate any administrative responsibility for retention of applications, certificates of registration, and any other forms or documents relating to the application and registration process to the appropriate authorized tag agent for the county in which the application is made or the registration is issued.
  2. The commissioner shall prescribe and provide suitable forms of applications and all other notices and forms necessary to administer this chapter.
  3. The commissioner may:
    1. Perform any investigation necessary to procure information required to carry out this chapter; and
    2. Adopt and enforce reasonable rules and regulations to administer this chapter. (Code 1981, § 40-2-11 , enacted by Ga. L. 2008, p. 835, § 2/SB 437.)

ARTICLE 2 REGISTRATION AND LICENSING GENERALLY

Cross references. - Further provisions regarding motor vehicle registration and licensing, T. 48, C. 10.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1910, § 1770 (26), are included in the annotations for this article.

Constitutionality. - Statutes providing for licensing of motor vehicles are not unconstitutional on grounds that the statutes are an unauthorized tax on personal property to raise funds for public roads or on grounds that the statutes violate provisions that all taxation shall be uniform on the same class of subjects and ad valorem on all property taxed. Lee v. State, 163 Ga. 239 , 135 S.E. 912 (1926) (decided under former Code 1910, § 1770).

Provisions for license fees do not constitute a property tax. Lee v. State, 163 Ga. 239 , 135 S.E. 912 (1926) (decided under former Code 1910, § 1770).

40-2-20. Registration and license requirements; certificate of registration and temporary operating permit; two-year registration option for new motor vehicles.

      1. Except as provided in subsections (b) and (d) of this Code section and subsection (a) of Code Section 40-2-47, every owner of a motor vehicle, including a tractor or motorcycle, and every owner of a trailer shall, during the owner's registration period in each year, register such vehicle as provided in this chapter and obtain a license to operate it for the 12 month period until such person's next registration period.
        1. The purchaser or other transferee owner of every new or used motor vehicle, including tractors and motorcycles, or trailer shall register such vehicle as provided in Code Section 40-2-8 and obtain or transfer as provided in this chapter a license to operate it for the period remaining until such person's next registration period which immediately follows such initial registration period, without regard to whether such next registration period occurs in the same calendar year as the initial registration period or how soon such next registration period follows the initial registration period; provided, however, that this registration and licensing requirement does not apply to a dealer which acquires a new or used motor vehicle and holds it for resale. The commissioner may provide by rule or regulation for one 30 day extension of such initial registration period which may be granted by the county tag agent if the transferor has not provided such purchaser or other transferee owner with a title to the motor vehicle more than five business days prior to the expiration of such initial registration period. The county tag agent shall grant an extension of the initial registration period when the transferor, purchaser, or transferee can demonstrate by affidavit in a form provided by the commissioner that title has not been provided to the purchaser or transferee due to the failure of a security interest or lienholder to timely release a security interest or lien in accordance with Code Section 40-3-56.
        2. No person, company, or corporation, including, but not limited to, used motor vehicle dealers and auto auctions, shall sell or transfer a motor vehicle without providing to the purchaser or transferee of such motor vehicle the last certificate of registration on such vehicle at the time of such sale or transfer; provided, however, that in the case of a salvage motor vehicle or a motor vehicle which is stolen but subsequently recovered by the insurance company after payment of a total loss claim, the salvage dealer or insurer, respectively, shall not be required to provide the certificate of registration for such vehicle; and provided, further, that in the case of a repossessed motor vehicle or a court ordered sale or other involuntary transfer, the lienholder or the transferor shall not be required to provide the certificate of registration for such vehicle but shall, prior to the sale of such vehicle, surrender the license plate of such vehicle to the commissioner or the county tag agent by personal delivery or by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery for cancellation.
      2. The county tag agent may issue a temporary operating permit for any vehicle that fails to comply with applicable federal emission standards, provided that the owner of such vehicle has provided verification of the existence of minimum motor vehicle liability insurance coverage and paid all applicable taxes, penalties, insurance lapse fees, and fees other than the registration fee. Such temporary operating permit shall be valid for 30 days and shall not be renewable.
    1. An application for the registration of a motor vehicle may not be submitted separately from the application for a certificate of title for such motor vehicle, unless a certificate of title has been issued in the owner's name, has been applied for in the owner's name, or the motor vehicle is not required to be titled. An application for a certificate of title for a motor vehicle may be submitted separately from the application for the registration of such motor vehicle.
  1. Subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply:
    1. To any motor vehicle or trailer owned by the state or any municipality or other political subdivision of this state and used exclusively for governmental functions except to the extent provided by Code Section 40-2-37;
    2. To any tractor or three-wheeled motorcycle used only for agricultural purposes;

      (2.1) To any vehicle or equipment used for transporting cargo or containers between and within wharves, storage areas, or terminals within the facilities of any port under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Ports Authority when such vehicle or equipment is being operated upon any public road not part of The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways by the owner thereof or his or her agent within a radius of ten miles of the port facility of origin and accompanied by an escort vehicle equipped with one or more operating amber flashing lights that are visible from a distance of 500 feet;

    3. To any trailer which has no springs and which is being employed in hauling unprocessed farm products to their first market destination;
    4. To any trailer which has no springs, which is pulled from a tongue, and which is used primarily to transport fertilizer to a farm;
    5. To any electric powered personal transportation vehicle;
    6. To any moped; or
    7. To any golf car.
  2. Any person who fails to register a new or used motor vehicle as required in subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $100.00.
  3. Upon the payment of the requisite fee, the purchaser of a new motor vehicle passenger car, as such terms are defined in paragraphs (34) and (41) of Code Section 40-1-1, for which such purchaser has paid state and local title ad valorem taxes may choose to register such passenger car for an initial period of two years instead of the annual registration provided for in this Code section, provided that the motor vehicle owner does not elect a prestige or special license plate. Thereafter, such passenger car shall be subject to the annual registration requirements of this Code section.

    (Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 3; Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Ga. L. 1931, p. 213, § 1; Code 1933, § 68-201; Ga. L. 1943, p. 341, § 2; Ga. L. 1953, Jan.-Feb. Sess., p. 392, § 2; Ga. L. 1957, p. 590, § 1; Ga. L. 1960, p. 777, § 1; Ga. L. 1966, p. 252, § 1; Ga. L. 1969, p. 266, § 1; Ga. L. 1973, p. 595, § 2; Ga. L. 1973, p. 781, § 1; Ga. L. 1974, p. 414, § 1; Ga. L. 1974, p. 451, § 1; Ga. L. 1978, p. 2241, § 2; Ga. L. 1984, p. 603, § 1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 1329, § 1; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1053, § 2; Ga. L. 1987, p. 949, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 1657, § 3; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1993, p. 1260, § 2; Ga. L. 1994, p. 352, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 2; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 2; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 4; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 4; Ga. L. 1999, p. 81, § 40; Ga. L. 1999, p. 784, § 1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 136, § 40; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1589, § 3; Ga. L. 2001, p. 1173, § 1-2; Ga. L. 2002, p. 506, § 3; Ga. L. 2002, p. 512, § 4; Ga. L. 2009, p. 449, § 1/SB 128; Ga. L. 2010, p. 143, § 3/HB 1005; Ga. L. 2012, p. 804, § 2/HB 985; Ga. L. 2014, p. 745, § 2/HB 877; Ga. L. 2015, p. 60, § 4-4/SB 100; Ga. L. 2015, p. 836, § 1/HB 147; Ga. L. 2016, p. 864, § 40/HB 737.)

The 2016 amendment, effective May 3, 2016, part of an Act to revise, modernize, and correct the Code, revised punctuation in the first sentence of subsection (d).

Cross references. - Schedule of fees for registration and licensing of motor vehicles, § 40-2-152 .

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1986, a comma was deleted following "chapter" in the first sentence of subsection (a).

The amendment of this Code section by Ga. L. 2002, p. 506, § 3, irreconcilably conflicted with and was treated as superseded by Ga. L. 2002, p. 512, § 4. See County of Butts v. Strahan, 151 Ga. 417 (1921).

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 22, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local law enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21, which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date of this Act." The act became effective January 1, 1997.

Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 18, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Those parts of Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, an act amending Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and amending Article 10 of Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles and mobile homes, approved April 19, 1995, in conflict with this Act are repealed."

Ga. L. 2009, p. 449, § 4/SB 128, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part, that the amendment to this Code section shall apply to registration and licensing of trailers on and after January 1, 2010.

Ga. L. 2015, p. 60, § 6-1/SB 100, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Section 4-9 of Part IV of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2016, and all other parts of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2015, and shall apply to offenses which occur on or after that date."

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997). For note on 1990 amendment of this Code section, see 7 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 329 (1990). For note on the 2002 amendment of this chapter, see 19 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 281 (2002).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under Ga. L. 1915, p. 107 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Motorcycle is subject to this statute. - Motorcycle is subject to the provisions of O.C.G.A. Title 40, motor vehicles and traffic law, in general, and to those of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-20 in particular. Grange Mut. Cas. Co. v. King, 174 Ga. App. 716 , 331 S.E.2d 41 (1985).

Trail bike ridden on streets. - Trail bike shown to have been ridden on a public street was subject to registration and was excluded from coverage under the homeowner's policy, despite policy language exempting from the exclusion vehicles "not subject to motor vehicle registration because . . . used exclusively on the resident premises." Addison v. Southern Guar. Ins. Co., 155 Ga. App. 536 , 271 S.E.2d 674 (1980).

Recovery against railroad. - When a person driving a motor truck on a public highway over a railroad crossing is struck by a passenger train and injured, the mere fact that the vehicle has not been registered, a license obtained, and a license fee paid, as required by Ga. L. 1915, p. 107, will not render the person so injured a trespasser, and bar the person's right of recovery against the railroad company for negligence. Central of Ga. Ry. v. Moore, 149 Ga. 581 , 101 S.E. 668 (1919) (decided under Ga. L. 1915, p. 107).

Same rule is applicable when a passenger in an automobile is injured by reason of the negligence of a railroad company in failing to keep the railroads crossing in repair. Hines v. Wilson, 25 Ga. App. 63 , 102 S.E. 646 , cert. denied, 25 Ga. App. 840 , S.E. (1920) (decided under Ga. L. 1915, p. 107).

Accusation making no reference to "owner." - Accusation of violation which makes no reference to the "owner" is not an error. Cumbie v. State, 38 Ga. App. 744 , 145 S.E. 667 (1928).

Variance between accusation and proof at trial showing trailer operation. - Defendant's conviction of operating a motor vehicle without a tag, O.C.G.A. § 40-2-20 , was improper as there was a fatal variance between the accusation and the proof at trial. There was no evidence that the defendant operated a motor vehicle without a license plate; the evidence established the defendant was towing a trailer which did not have a plate displayed. Younger v. State, 293 Ga. App. 20 , 666 S.E.2d 460 (2008).

Officer's procedure justified. - An officer's refusal to entrust a car sought to be impounded to the defendant's passenger was justified because the passenger did not have a valid Georgia driver's license in apparent violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-20(a) . Lopez v. State, 286 Ga. App. 873 , 650 S.E.2d 430 (2007).

Sentence not unconstitutional. - Defendant's sentence of 12 months confinement to be served on probation following 60 days of confinement, $1,500 in fines, 100 hours of community service, and a mental health evaluation for obstruction of a law enforcement officer, driving without insurance, and failing to register a vehicle was within the statutory limits set by O.C.G.A. §§ 16-10-24(b) , 40-2-20(c) , and 40-6-10(b) , and did not shock the conscience. Smith v. State, 311 Ga. App. 184 , 715 S.E.2d 434 (2011).

Ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to object to officer's hearsay testimony. - Appellate court reversed the trial court's denial of the defendant's motion for a new trial with respect to the two misdemeanor traffic violations because the prejudice from trial counsel's failure to object was clear as the officer's hearsay testimony was the only evidence offered to prove the elements of the traffic offenses and had the evidence been excluded, there would not have been sufficient evidence to convict on those offenses. Taylor v. State, 337 Ga. App. 486 , 788 S.E.2d 97 (2016).

Cited in Bentley v. State, 70 Ga. App. 494 , 28 S.E.2d 658 (1944); Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n v. Jones Transp., Inc., 213 Ga. 514 , 100 S.E.2d 183 (1957); Citizens & S. Nat'l Bank v. Georgia Steel, Inc., 25 Bankr. 796 (Bankr. M.D. Ga. 1982); Keyser v. State, 187 Ga. App. 95 , 369 S.E.2d 309 (1988).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Motor scooter is a motor vehicle which must be licensed before operation in Georgia. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 485.

Air compressor mounted on wheels which is not self-propelled, but designed so as to be moved from one job to another by pulling the compressor over the public highways of this state attached to some other motor vehicle, has been classified as a trailer and, as such, should have a license. 1958-59 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 211.

Four-wheel tanks and trailers used to haul goods over public highways. - Since neither tanks mounted on four wheels and used to haul anhydrous ammonia (liquid fertilizer) over public highways, nor four-wheel trailers used to haul cotton over public highways to farms, can qualify as a tractor, those items must be registered and have license plates. 1965-66 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 66-149.

Go-cart is a motor vehicle; and the operator of a go-cart must be licensed; the go-cart must be registered, inspected annually, and equipped with headlights, stop lights, and turn signals. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-194 (rendered under former Code 1933, § 68-201, prior to amendment by Ga. L. 1973, p. 781, § 1).

Operation of golf cart upon public road. - Golf cart was a vehicle other than a tractor, not operated upon a track, and propelled by other than muscular power; the golf cart thus fell within the definition of "motor vehicle" set out in former Code 1933, § 68A-101 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1 ); if the golf cart was to be operated upon a public road, the operator must comply with all registration requirements. 1972 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U72-78.

Operation of "log grapple loader" upon public road. - "Log grapple loader" is a truck body with a log loading machine mounted on its back, and the only time that the vehicle is used on a highway is in transporting it from one forest to another; if such a vehicle is to be operated on the public highways, it must be registered, licensed, and inspected in accordance with the motor vehicle laws. 1973 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U73-82.

Nonresident student must register vehicle within 30 days. - Nonresident student is required to register a vehicle owned or operated by the student and obtain a license tag within 30 days from the time the student enters the state. 1970 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 70-40.

Owner applying for tag in May not entitled to three-quarter-year rate. - When a vehicle operated during January, February, and March of the current year under an extension granted for use of the previous year's tag is not used in April, but the owner thereof makes application for a tag therefor in May, the owner is not entitled to a three-quarter-year rate. 1952-53 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 470.

Endorsement of delinquent application for tags. - Delinquent application for an automobile tag may be endorsed by the county tag agent, rather than the sheriff. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 469.

Surrender of plates and registrations of salvage vehicles. - Owners and insurers are required to surrender to the state revenue commissioner the license plates and registrations of vehicles which become salvage or total loss vehicles. 1997 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 97-24.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 57 et seq., 110, 113 et seq.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 24 et seq., 36, 38, 180, 181, 273 et seq.

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

Registration of automobile as affected by the name used to identify owner, 47 A.L.R. 1103 .

Construction and application of statutes requiring "chauffeur's" licenses, 105 A.L.R. 69 ; 139 A.L.R. 950 .

Applicability of motor vehicle registration laws to corporation domiciled in state but having branch trucking bases in other state, 16 A.L.R.2d 1414.

What constitutes farm vehicle, construction equipment, or vehicle temporarily on highway exempt from registration as motor vehicle, 27 A.L.R.4th 843.

40-2-20.1. Redesignated.

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2, effective July 1, 1990, redesignated former Code Section 40-2-20.1 as present Code Section 40-2-21.

40-2-21. Registration periods.

  1. As used in this chapter, the term:

    (.1) "Initial registration period" means the 30 day period immediately following the date of purchase or other acquisition of a new or used motor vehicle, including tractors and motorcycles, or trailer.

    (.2) "Owner" has the meaning provided by paragraph (39) of Code Section 40-1-1 except that such term shall mean a lessee of a vehicle when the vehicle is operated under a lease agreement.

    1. "Registration period" means:
      1. In all counties except those for which a local Act has been enacted pursuant to this Code section:
        1. For natural persons, the 30 day period ending at midnight on the birthday of the owner whose surname appears first on the certificate of title or other record of ownership; or
        2. For entities other than natural persons:
          1. The month of January for the owner whose name begins with the letter A or B;
          2. The month of February for the owner whose name begins with the letter C or D;
          3. The month of March for the owner whose name begins with the letter E or F;
          4. The month of April for the owner whose name begins with the letter G or H;
          5. The month of May for the owner whose name begins with the letter I or J;
          6. The month of June for the owner whose name begins with the letter K or L;
          7. The month of July for the owner whose name begins with the letter M or N;
          8. The month of August for the owner whose name begins with the letter O or P;
          9. The month of September for the owner whose name begins with the letter Q or R;
          10. The month of October for the owner whose name begins with the letter S or T;
          11. The month of November for the owner whose name begins with the letter U, V, or W; and
          12. The month of December for the owner whose name begins with the letter X, Y, or Z; or
        3. The provisions of divisions (i) and (ii) of this subparagraph notwithstanding, December 1 through February 15 for vehicles in excess of 26,000 pounds which are not being registered under the International Registration Plan and are owned by natural persons or entities other than natural persons; or
      2. In those counties which are authorized by a local Act enacted pursuant to this Code section to have a four-month staggered registration period:
        1. For natural persons:
          1. The month of January for the owner whose surname appears first on the certificate of title or other record of ownership and whose birthday is in the month of January, February, or March;
          2. The month of February for the owner whose surname appears first on the certificate of title or other record of ownership and whose birthday is in the month of April, May, or June;
          3. The month of March for the owner whose surname appears first on the certificate of title or other record of ownership and whose birthday is in the month of July, August, or September; and
          4. The month of April for the owner whose surname appears first on the certificate of title or other record of ownership and whose birthday is in the month of October, November, or December; or
        2. For entities other than natural persons:
          1. The month of January for the owner whose name begins with the letter A, B, C, or D;
          2. The month of February for the owner whose name begins with the letter E, F, G, H, I, J, or K;
          3. The month of March for the owner whose name begins with the letter L, M, N, O, P, Q, or R; and
          4. The month of April for the owner whose name begins with the letter S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z; or
        3. The provisions of divisions (i) and (ii) of this subparagraph notwithstanding, December 1 through February 15 for vehicles in excess of 26,000 pounds which are not being registered under the International Registration Plan and are owned by natural persons or entities other than natural persons; or
        1. In those counties which are authorized by a local Act enacted pursuant to this Code section not to have staggered registration periods, January 1 through April 30.
        2. The provisions of division (i) of this subparagraph notwithstanding, December 1 through February 15 for vehicles in excess of 26,000 pounds which are not being registered under the International Registration Plan and are owned by natural persons or entities other than natural persons.

          For purposes of determining the registration period of an owner which is an entity other than a natural person in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph, the owner shall be deemed to be the owner whose name appears first on the certificate of title or other record of ownership. Any other provision of this paragraph notwithstanding, registration of vehicles under the International Registration Plan shall be as provided by Code Section 40-2-88, and registration of vehicles under the fleet registration plan shall be as provided by Article 2A of this chapter.

    2. "Vehicle" means every motor vehicle, including a tractor or motorcycle, and every trailer required to be registered and licensed under Code Section 40-2-20.
  2. The owner of every vehicle registered in the previous calendar year shall register and obtain a license to operate such vehicle not later than the last day of the owner's registration period.
  3. The owner of any vehicle registered in the previous calendar year who moves his or her residence from a county which does not have staggered registration to a county which has a four-month or 12 month staggered registration period or who moves his or her residence from a county which has a 12 month staggered registration period to a county which has a four-month staggered registration period or to a county which does not have staggered registration shall register and obtain a license to operate such vehicle prior to the last day of such new registration period or, if such registration period has passed for that year at the time of the change of residence, not later than 30 days following the date of the change of residence.
  4. The transferee owner of a new or used vehicle shall register and obtain or transfer a license to operate such vehicle as provided in subsection (a) of Code Section 40-2-20.
  5. Any local law enacted pursuant to this Code section shall specify either a staggered registration period of four months or a nonstaggered registration period of four months. If such local law is conditioned upon approval in a referendum, the results of such referendum shall be verified to the commissioner.
  6. On and after January 1, 2000, no local Act shall be enacted pursuant to this Code section authorizing a staggered system of motor vehicle registration. This subsection shall not apply to any county in which such a local Act has been enacted prior to January 1, 2000. (Code 1981, § 40-2-20.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 1986, p. 1053, § 3; Ga. L. 1987, p. 1, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1988, p. 380, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-21 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 3; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 3; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 5; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 4A; Ga. L. 1999, p. 667, § 1; Ga. L. 1999, p. 741, § 1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 3-2.)

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2001, "the" was substituted for "hte" in division (a)(1)(A)(iii).

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 22, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local law enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21, which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date of this Act." The act became effective January 1, 1997.

Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 17, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local Act enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21 which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date of this Act; provided, however, that any local Act enacted in 1996 pursuant to the provisions of Code Section 40-2-21 as enacted by Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, which local Act provides for a four-month staggered registration period for a county, shall not be repealed by the provisions of this Act, but the registration period for such county shall be as provided by subparagraph (a)(1)(B) of Code Section 40-2-21 as enacted by this Act and not as provided in such local Act."

Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 18, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Those parts of Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, an Act amending Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and amending Article 10 of Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles and mobile homes, approved April 19, 1995, in conflict with this Act are repealed."

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

40-2-22. Application to local tag agents or commissioner.

License plates and revalidation decals shall be issued only upon applications made to the local tag agent or the commissioner in accordance with the terms of this chapter.

(Ga. L. 1955, p. 659, § 6; Ga. L. 1957, p. 197, § 4; Ga. L. 1966, p. 508, § 6; Code 1981, § 40-2-21 ; Code 1981, § 40-2-22 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-65/HB 1055.)

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Dealership registering in county of dealership's residence. - Unless a dealership wishes to obtain separate regular license plates for each vehicle obtained by the dealership from the factory prior to selling a vehicle, a vehicle cannot be registered in the county of the residence of the dealership. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 479.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 93.

C.J.S. - 61A C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 1745, 1746.

40-2-23. County tax collectors and tax commissioners designated tag agents.

  1. The tax collectors of the various counties of this state and the tax commissioners of those counties in which the duties of the tax collector are performed by a tax commissioner shall be designated as tag agents of the commissioner for the purpose of accepting applications for the registration of vehicles. The commissioner is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the purpose of delegating to such tag agents the custodial responsibility for properly receiving, processing, issuing, and storing motor vehicle titles or registrations, or both.
  2. The duties and responsibilities of agents of the commissioner designated under this Code section shall be a part of the official duties and responsibilities of the county tax collectors and tax commissioners. (Ga. L. 1955, p. 659, § 1; Ga. L. 1957, p. 197, § 1; Ga. L. 1965, p. 5, § 1; Ga. L. 1966, p. 508, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-22 ; Code 1981, § 40-2-23 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1993, p. 1815, § 1; Ga. L. 1997, p. 739, § 1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 3-3; Ga. L. 2012, p. 257, § 1-1/HB 386.)

Cross references. - Further provisions regarding designation of tax collectors and tax commissioners as agents for acceptance of applications for registration of motor vehicles, § 48-5-475 .

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Payment to agent and remittance by agent to state revenue, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, County Tag Agent's § 560-10-3-.04.

Law reviews. - For article on the 2012 amendment of this Code section, see 29 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 112 (2012).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Laurens County v. Keen, 214 Ga. 32 , 102 S.E.2d 697 (1958); Keen v. Lewis, 215 Ga. 166 , 109 S.E.2d 764 (1959).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Dealership registering in county of dealership's residence. - Unless a dealership wishes to obtain separate regular license plates for each vehicle obtained by the dealership from the factory prior to selling a vehicle, a vehicle cannot be registered in the county of the residence of the dealership. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 479.

Cause of action against applicant where check dishonored. - When a tax commissioner accepts a check as payment for a motor vehicle license plate, which is not honored by the bank but returned marked "insufficient funds," the commissioner does not have the authority to seize or cancel the license plate which the commissioner issued; the tag agent accepts checks for motor vehicle license fees at the agent's own risk; consequently, the tag agent has a cause of action against the applicant for the amount of the license fee and the possibility of criminal action against the applicant. 1968 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 68-215.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 58 et seq., 71 et seq., 84.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 307 et seq., 314 et seq., 344 et seq.

40-2-24. Bonds of tag agents.

Each tag agent shall give bond conditioned as the commissioner may require, and in such amount as the commissioner may deem necessary and proper, not exceeding $250,000.00, to protect the state adequately. Such bond shall be executed by a surety corporation licensed to do business in the State of Georgia, as surety, and the premiums shall be paid by the department. The bond shall run to the Governor and his or her successors in office and shall be approved as to conditions, form, and sufficiency by the commissioner.

(Ga. L. 1955, p. 645, § 4; Ga. L. 1957, p. 197, § 3; Ga. L. 1966, p. 508, § 5; Code 1981, § 40-2-23 ; Code 1981, § 40-2-24 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 3-4; Ga. L. 2005, p. 334, § 14-3/HB 501.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Keen v. Lewis, 215 Ga. 166 , 109 S.E.2d 764 (1959); Sanders v. United States Fid. & Guar. Co., 108 Ga. App. 849 , 134 S.E.2d 831 (1964).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Dealership registering in county of dealership's residence. - Unless a dealership wishes to obtain separate regular license plates for each vehicle obtained by the dealership from the factory prior to selling a vehicle, a vehicle cannot be registered in the county of the residence of the dealership. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 479.

Revenue commissioner does not pay premium on the bond that is payable to the state under former Code 1933, § 92-4801.1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-91 (see now O.C.G.A. § 48-5-122 ).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 12 Am. Jur. 2d, Bonds, § 1 et seq.

40-2-25. Processing by private persons of applications for registration.

  1. The commissioner is authorized and directed to promulgate rules and regulations governing the processing by private persons, in any manner whatsoever, of applications for the registration of vehicles.
    1. The tax commissioner of each county shall be authorized to require any private person processing applications for the registration of vehicles pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section to give an annual fidelity bond in the amount of $50,000.00 with good and sufficient surety or sureties licensed to do business in this state payable to, in favor of, and for the protection of either the payee, taxpayer, or the tax commissioner of the county in which such person processes such applications. Such bond shall be posted prior to the beginning of business operations each year and satisfactory proof of such bond shall be filed in the office of the tax commissioner requiring such bond prior to the beginning of business operations each year.
    2. Any person who violates any provision of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (Ga. L. 1977, p. 697, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-24 ; Ga. L. 1988, p. 892, § 1; Ga. L. 1989, p. 1403, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-25 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 2002, p. 838, § 1.)

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Tag Service Companies, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, Subject 560-10-28.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 17, 21 et seq.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 273 et seq.

40-2-25.1. Redesignated.

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2, effective July 1, 1990, redesignated former Code Section 40-2-25.1 as present Code Section 40-2-27.

40-2-26. Form and contents of application for registration; heavy vehicle tax; satisfactory proof of insurance coverage.

  1. All applicants to register a vehicle shall apply to the tag agent of the county wherein such vehicle is required to be returned for ad valorem taxation.
  2. Application shall be made by the owner of the vehicle upon blanks prepared by the commissioner for such purposes. The application shall contain a statement of the name, place of residence, and address of the applicant; a brief description of the vehicle to be registered, including its name and model, the name of the manufacturer, the manufacturer's vehicle identification number, and its shipping weight and carrying capacity; from whom, where, and when the vehicle was purchased; the total amount of all liens, if any, thereon, with the name and address of the lienholder; and such other information as the commissioner may require. In addition, the commissioner shall provide to an applicant an opportunity to designate an alternative emergency contact telephone number that shall be made available to a law enforcement officer making a vehicle tag inquiry in the course of conducting official law enforcement business.
    1. As used in this subsection, the term "heavy vehicle tax" means that tax imposed by Subchapter D of Chapter 36 of the Internal Revenue Code.
    2. On or after September 30, 1984, no vehicle registration or renewal thereof shall be issued to any motor vehicle subject to the heavy vehicle tax unless the owner of the motor vehicle provides satisfactory proof that the heavy vehicle tax has been paid for the federal tax year during which the application for registration or renewal thereof is made or that a heavy motor vehicle tax return has been filed with the United States Internal Revenue Service for the federal tax year during which the application for registration or renewal thereof is made.
    3. The commissioner is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations consistent with paragraph (2) of this subsection which are necessary to ensure that the state complies with the requirements of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, Section 143, 23 U.S.C. Section 141d.
    4. The requirements of this subsection are in addition to any requirements of this Code relative to the registration of motor vehicles.
    1. As used in this subsection, for the purpose of issuing or renewing motor vehicle registration, the term "satisfactory proof" means:
      1. Any type of proof that is satisfactory or sufficient proof of the owner's insurance coverage under subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-10 ;
      2. Information obtained from the records or data base of the department regarding the owner's insurance coverage which information is derived from notice provided to the department pursuant to Code Section 40-2-137 ; or
      3. Such other type of proof of the owner's insurance coverage as may be approved for purposes of this Code section by rule or regulation of the department.
    2. No vehicle registration or renewal thereof shall be issued to any motor vehicle unless the tag agent receives satisfactory proof that the motor vehicle is subject to a policy of insurance that provides the minimum motor vehicle insurance coverage required by Chapter 34 of Title 33 or an approved self-insurance plan and, in the case of a private passenger vehicle, that such coverage was initially issued for a minimum term of six months; provided, however, that the owner's inability to register or renew the registration of any motor vehicle due to lack of proof of insurance shall not excuse or defer the timely payment of ad valorem taxes due and payable upon said vehicle. (Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 3; Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Code 1933, § 68-202; Ga. L. 1953, Jan.-Feb. Sess., p. 366, § 1; Ga. L. 1957, p. 452, § 1; Ga. L. 1966, p. 508, § 3; Code 1981, § 40-2-25 ; Ga. L. 1984, p. 609, § 2; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Ga. L. 1987, p. 191, § 9; Code 1981, § 40-2-26 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1024, § 2; Ga. L. 2003, p. 261, § 2; Ga. L. 2010, p. 143, § 3.1/HB 1005; Ga. L. 2014, p. 704, § 4/SB 23.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1984, p. 609, § 1, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "The General Assembly declares that it is the purpose of this Act to ensure that this state receives its full apportionment of federal-aid highway funds and to enable the state revenue commissioner and his officers, agents, and employees to comply with the requirements of the federal government in order for this state to receive all possible federal aid and assistance in the construction and maintenance of the public roads of Georgia."

Ga. L. 1987, p. 191, § 10, not codified by the General Assembly, provided that this Act is applicable to taxable years ending on or after March 11, 1987, and that a taxpayer with a taxable year ending on or after January 1, 1987, and before March 11, 1987, may elect to have the provisions of that Act apply.

Ga. L. 1987, p. 191, § 10, not codified by the General Assembly, also provided that tax, penalty, interest liabilities, and refund eligibility for prior taxable years shall not be affected by that Act.

Ga. L. 1987, p. 191, § 10, not codified by the General Assembly, also provided that provisions of the federal Tax Reform Act of 1986 and of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 which as of January 1, 1987, were not yet effective become effective for purposes of Georgia taxation on the same dates as those statutes become effective for federal purposes.

Ga. L. 2002, p. 1024, § 7, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall become effective November 1, 2002; provided, however, that the Act shall be effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval for the purposes of the authority of the commissioner to adopt rules and regulations and to employ staff and expend moneys within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available for such purpose."

Ga. L. 2014, p. 704, § 1/SB 23, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Stacey Nicole English Act.'"

U.S. Code. - Subchapter D of Chapter 36 of the Internal Revenue Code, referred to in paragraph (c)(1), is codified at 26 U.S.C. § 4481 et seq.

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Tag Forms, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, Subject 560-10-19.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Effect of purchase site for voting purposes. - Purchase by a Georgia resident of an automobile tag in a Georgia county other than the county in which the resident sought to register to vote was a declaration of residence in that particular county of the state for purposes of former Code 1933, § 34-602. McCoy v. McLeroy, 348 F. Supp. 1034 (M.D. Ga. 1972).

Cited in Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n v. Jones Transp., Inc., 213 Ga. 514 , 100 S.E.2d 183 (1957); Laurens County v. Keen, 214 Ga. 32 , 102 S.E.2d 697 (1958); Keen v. Lewis, 215 Ga. 166 , 109 S.E.2d 764 (1959); Cain v. Lumpkin County, 229 Ga. 274 , 190 S.E.2d 910 (1972).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Determination of nonresidency of service person. - Local officers determine what is sufficient to show the nonresidency of a service person, keeping in mind the only question involved is one of residency. 1967 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 67-2.

Dealership registering in county of dealership's residence. - Unless a dealership wishes to obtain separate regular license plates for each vehicle obtained by the dealership from the factory prior to selling a vehicle, a vehicle cannot be registered in the county of the residence of the dealership. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 479.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 71 et seq., 94, 100.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 273, 294.

40-2-27. Registration of motor vehicles not manufactured to comply with federal emission and safety standards; certificate of registration for an assembled motor vehicle or motorcycle or a converted motor vehicle; former military motor vehicles.

  1. No application shall be accepted and no certificate of registration shall be issued to any motor vehicle which was not manufactured to comply with applicable federal emission standards issued pursuant to 42 U.S.C.A. Section 7401 through Section 7642, known as the Clean Air Act, as amended, and applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards issued pursuant to 49 U.S.C.A. Section 30101, et seq., unless and until the United States Customs Service or the United States Department of Transportation has certified that the motor vehicle complies with such applicable federal standards and unless all documents required by the commissioner for processing an application for a certificate of registration or title are printed and filled out in the English language or are accompanied by an English translation.
  2. The provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply to applications for certificates of registration for such motor vehicles that have a manufactured date that is 25 years or older at the time of application. Certification of compliance shall only be required at the time of application for the issuance of the initial Georgia certificate of registration.
  3. Applications for registration of such motor vehicles shall be accompanied by a Georgia certificate of title, proof that an application for a Georgia certificate of title has been properly submitted, or such other information and documentation of ownership as the commissioner shall deem proper.
    1. Before a certificate of registration is issued for an assembled motor vehicle or motorcycle as such term is defined in Code Section 40-3-30.1, such assembled motor vehicle or motorcycle shall have been issued a certificate of title in Georgia and shall comply with the provisions of such Code section.
    2. Before a certificate of registration is issued for a converted motor vehicle as such term is defined in Code Section 40-3-30.1, such converted motor vehicle shall have been issued a certificate of title in Georgia upon compliance with the inspection provisions of Code Section 40-3-30.1.
  4. The provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply to applications for certificates of registration for former military motor vehicles that are less than 25 years old and manufactured for the United States military. (Code 1981, § 40-2-25.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 1985, p. 693, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-27 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1994, p. 97, § 40; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 3-5; Ga. L. 2002, p. 512, § 5; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1378, § 2; Ga. L. 2008, p. 835, § 3/SB 437; Ga. L. 2014, p. 409, § 2/SB 392; Ga. L. 2020, p. 349, § 2/HB 877.)

The 2020 amendment, effective January 1, 2021, designated the existing provisions of subsection (d) as paragraph (d)(1); in paragraph (d)(1), inserted "as such term is defined in Code Section 40-3-30.1" near the beginning and substituted "such Code section" for "Code Section 40-3-30.1" at the end; and added paragraph (d)(2).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

O.C.G.A. § 40-2-27 violates the preemption clause of the federal Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7543(a), but does not preempt 15 U.S.C. § 1392(d) of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, does not violate the Commerce Clause and is not unconstitutionally vague. Georgia Auto. Importers Compliance Ass'n v. Bowers, 639 F. Supp. 352 (N.D. Ga. 1986).

40-2-28. Proof of ownership.

  1. Initial applications for registration shall contain such information of ownership as the commissioner shall deem proper, and no vehicle shall be registered unless the commissioner shall be satisfied that the applicant for registration is entitled to have the vehicle registered in his name. Proof of purchase at a judicial sale or previous registration in this state by the applicant may be accepted as evidence of ownership by the commissioner.
  2. Applications for registration of vehicles brought into this state and previously registered in other states shall be accompanied by an affidavit from the motor vehicle registering official of that state, or other satisfactory evidence indicating that the applicant is the lawful owner of the vehicle, including the date, name, and address of the person from whom it was purchased. (Ga. L. 1925, p. 315, § 1; Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Code 1933, § 68-205; Ga. L. 1953, Jan.-Feb. Sess., p. 366, § 2; Ga. L. 1955, p. 424, § 1; Ga. L. 1973, p. 455, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-26 ; Code 1981, § 40-2-28 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2.)

Law reviews. - For comment on Blalock v. Brown, 78 Ga. App. 537 , 51 S.E.2d 610 (1949), see 1 Mercer L. Rev. 128 (1949).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Innocent purchaser for value. - In a prosecution for felony theft by taking of a van, the trial court was entitled to conclude that the victim was an innocent purchaser for value, believing the seller to be the owner, the defendant's claim to the contrary notwithstanding; moreover, pursuant to former O.C.G.A. § 24-4-8 (see now O.C.G.A. § 24-14-8 ), the testimony of a single witness was sufficient to establish this fact. Coursey v. State, 281 Ga. App. 494 , 636 S.E.2d 669 (2006).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Refusal to issue plates when ownership not proven. - Commissioner of revenue may refuse to issue plates to applicants who cannot submit satisfactory proof of ownership. 1952-53 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 224.

Nonresident entitled to tag upon proof of ownership. - Nonresident who sufficiently establishes ownership of vehicle is entitled to be issued license tag therefor, notwithstanding the fact that the nonresident may not use or intend to use the vehicle in Georgia. 1952-53 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 465.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 93 et seq.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 180, 273, 282.

ALR. - Civil rights and liabilities as affected by failure to comply with regulations as to registration of automobile or motorcycle or licensing of operator, 111 A.L.R. 1258 ; 163 A.L.R. 1375 .

Right to inspect motor vehicle records, 84 A.L.R.2d 1261.

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

40-2-29. Registration and license plate requirement; license fee to accompany application; temporary operating permit; penalties.

  1. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any person purchasing or acquiring a vehicle shall register and obtain, or transfer, a license plate to operate such vehicle from the county tag agent in their county of residence no later than seven business days after the date of purchase or acquisition of the vehicle by presenting to the county tag agent the following:
    1. A motor vehicle certificate of title as provided in Chapter 3 of this title;
    2. Satisfactory proof of owner's insurance coverage as provided for in subsection (d) of Code Section 40-2-26;
    3. If applicable, satisfactory proof of compliance with the Article 2 of Chapter 9 of Title 12, the "Georgia Motor Vehicle Emission Inspection and Maintenance Act"; and
    4. Satisfactory proof that all fees, permits, and taxes have been paid.
  2. An application for registration shall be accompanied by check; cash; certified or cashier's check; bank, postal, or express money order; or other similar bankable paper for the amount of the license plate or temporary permit fee or any taxes required by law.
  3. A person unable to fully comply with the requirements of subsection (a) of this Code section shall register such vehicle and receive a temporary operating permit that will be valid until the end of the initial registration period as provided for in paragraph (.1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-2-21. The commissioner may provide by rule or regulation for one 30 day extension of such initial registration period which may be granted by the county tag agent if the transferor has not provided such purchaser or other transferee owner with a title to the motor vehicle more than five business days prior to the expiration of such initial registration period. The county tag agent shall grant an extension of the initial registration period when the transferor, purchaser, or transferee can demonstrate by affidavit in a form provided by the commissioner that title has not been provided to the purchaser or transferee due to the failure of a security interest holder or lienholder to timely release a security interest or lien in accordance with Code Section 40-3-56.
  4. A conviction for displaying a license plate or temporary license plate not provided for in this chapter shall be punished as a misdemeanor. (Ga. L. 1925, p. 315, § 1; Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 6; Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Code 1933, §§ 68-208, 68-212; Ga. L. 1960, p. 943, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-27 ; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Ga. L. 1985, p. 537, § 2; Code 1981, § 40-2-29 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 2010, p. 143, § 4/HB 1005; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40/HB 79; Ga. L. 2018, p. 287, § 3/HB 329.)

The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2019, added the second and third sentences in subsection (c).

Cross references. - Schedule of annual license fees, § 40-2-151 .

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

"Or other similar bankable paper" construed. - Words "or other similar bankable paper," found in former Code 1933, §§ 68-208 and 68-212 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-2-29 ), include personal and company checks, as provided in Ga. L. 1960, p. 211 (see O.C.G.A. § 48-2-32 ). 1963-65 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 607.

Post-dated, nonpar, and qualified checks prohibited. - Words "free of any expense to the state" found in former Code 1933, § 92-5706 (see now O.C.G.A. § 48-2-31 ) restrict the term "bankable paper" found in former Code 1933, §§ 68-208 and 68-212 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-2-29 ) in that this provision would prohibit accepting post-dated checks, checks drawn on nonpar banks, and any check which was so qualified or conditioned that an expense to the state would necessarily be incurred. 1963-65 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 607.

Old tag valid only for 15 days from date of remittance. - Mailing application prior to April 1 cannot authorize car's operation without tag until April 15 because the old tag is valid only for "a period of 15 days from the date of such remittance" - not for such a period after April 1. 1970 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U70-70.

When mail order applicant penalized. - Mail order applicant cannot be subjected to civil penalties until April 2, or until the expiration of 15 days after the date of a proper money order receipt issued on or before April 1, whichever is later. 1958-59 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 209.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 60, 72 et seq.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 144 et seq.

40-2-29.21. Redesignated.

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2, effective July 1, 1990, redesignated former Code Section 40-2-29.21 as former Code Section 40-2-32.

40-2-30. Purchase by mail.

An applicant may purchase a vehicle license plate or revalidation decal by mail, by mailing a properly completed application form to the tag agent of the county of his or her residence along with a bank check or money order in the amount of the license fee and all ad valorem taxes due thereon plus an additional fee of $1.00.

(Ga. L. 1957, p. 454, § 1; Ga. L. 1966, p. 508, § 4; Ga. L. 1968, p. 1386, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-28 ; Ga. L. 1982, p. 964, § 1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 655, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-30 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-66/HB 1055.)

Cross references. - Schedule of annual license fees, § 40-2-151 .

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Effect of remittance of proper fee. - Money order receipt, or similar evidence, showing a remittance to a county tag agent or to the state revenue commissioner for the proper fee entitles an applicant to the use and operation of the motor vehicle sought to be licensed and registered for a period of 15 days from the date of such remittance without penalty of any kind, assuming, of course, that the date of such remittance is on or before April 1. 1958-59 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 209.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 60.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 282.

40-2-31. Five-year and annual license plates; design; costs of manufacture and delivery retained from registration fees; revalidation and county decals; "In God We Trust" decals.

  1. If the applicant meets the requirements set forth in this chapter, the commissioner shall issue to the applicant a license plate bearing a distinctive number.
  2. Such license plates shall be at least six inches wide and not less than 12 inches in length, except motorcycle license plates which shall be at least four inches wide and not less than seven inches in length, and shall show in boldface characters the month and year of expiration, the serial number, and either the full name or the abbreviation of the name of the state, shall designate the county from which the license plate was issued unless specifically stated otherwise in this chapter, and shall show such other distinctive markings as in the judgment of the commissioner may be deemed advisable, so as to indicate the class of weight of the vehicle for which the license plate was issued; and any license plate for a low-speed vehicle shall designate the vehicle as such. Such plates may also bear such figures, characters, letters, or combinations thereof as in the judgment of the commissioner will to the best advantage advertise, popularize, and otherwise promote Georgia as the "Peach State." The license plate shall be of such strength and quality that the plate shall provide a minimum service period of at least five years. The commissioner shall adopt rules and regulations, pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act," for the design and issuance of new license plates and to implement the other provisions of this Code section.

    (b.1) Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Sections 40-2-131 and 48-2-17, the commissioner shall retain the costs of manufacturing and delivery of license plates, revalidation decals, and county name decals from the registration fee as set forth in Code Section 40-2-151.

  3. The face of the license plate to be displayed shall be treated completely with a retroreflective material which will increase the nighttime visibility and legibility of the plate. The department shall prepare the specifications which such retroreflective material shall meet.
  4. In those years in which a new license plate is not issued, a revalidation decal with a distinctive serial number shall be issued and affixed in the space provided on the license plate issued to the applicant which shall indicate the year and month through which the registration of the vehicle shall be valid; provided, however, that if the commissioner determines that it is necessary, two revalidation decals shall be issued for each license plate to reflect the required information. When an applicant is issued a revalidation decal and such applicant registered the vehicle in another county the previous year, the applicant shall also be issued a new county decal which shall be properly affixed to the license plate and shall replace the other county decal.
  5. The commissioner shall furnish without cost to each tag agent reflective adhesive decals in sufficient number, upon which there shall be printed the name of the agent's county. Such a decal shall be issued with each metal license plate and shall be affixed in the space provided on the license plate without obscuring any number or other information required to be present on the plate. A tag agent shall offer, upon such issuance of a new permanent license plate, the option of obtaining a county decal or a decal providing for the nation's motto, "In God We Trust."
  6. A county tag agent shall issue a county name decal, upon request, for the agent's county only if:
    1. The applicant is a resident of or a business located in the county named on the decal;
    2. The applicant is registering a new vehicle in such county, is renewing a current vehicle registration, or is transferring registration of a vehicle to the county named on the decal; and
    3. The application for registration of the vehicle is being made in the county named on the decal.
  7. The commissioner shall furnish without cost to each tag agent reflective adhesive decals in sufficient number, upon which there shall be printed the nation's motto, "In God We Trust." A tag agent shall offer, upon such issuance of a new permanent license plate, the option of obtaining a county decal or a decal providing for the nation's motto, "In God We Trust." Such a decal shall be issued, upon request and free of charge, by a county tag agent with each new permanent license plate. (Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 8; Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Code 1933, § 68-214; Ga. L. 1939, p. 182, § 2; Ga. L. 1943, p. 341, § 3; Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 343, Part 1, § 1; Ga. L. 1955, p. 659, § 7C; Ga. L. 1969, p. 266, §§ 2, 3; Ga. L. 1979, p. 615, § 1; Ga. L. 1981, p. 714, §§ 1, 2; Code 1981, § 40-2-29 ; Ga. L. 1982, p. 1584, §§ 2A, 5A; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1333, § 1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 949, § 2; Ga. L. 1988, p. 380, § 3; Code 1981, § 40-2-31 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 4; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 4; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 6; Ga. L. 2001, p. 4, § 40; Ga. L. 2002, p. 512, § 6; Ga. L. 2006, p. 434, § 1/HB 363; Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-67/HB 1055; Ga. L. 2012, p. 1070, § 2/SB 293.)

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2010, a period was deleted at the beginning of subsection (b.1).

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 22, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local law enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21, which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date of this Act." The act became effective January 1, 1997.

Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 18, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Those parts of Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, an Act amending Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and amending Article 10 of Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles and mobile homes, approved April 19, 1995, in conflict with this Act are repealed."

Ga. L. 2012, p. 1070, § 4/SB 293, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2012, and shall apply to license plates issued on or after such date."

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Evidence obtained from search after legal stop. - When any one of the traffic violations observed by a police officer would have provided probable cause to effectuate a traffic stop, the trial court's denial of a motion to suppress evidence found during a subsequent search of the defendant's person, based upon an allegedly improper traffic stop, was not clearly erroneous. Tukes v. State, 236 Ga. App. 77 , 511 S.E.2d 534 (1999).

Cited in Undercofler v. White, 113 Ga. App. 853 , 149 S.E.2d 845 (1966); Garner v. State, 154 Ga. App. 839 , 269 S.E.2d 912 (1980).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

All classes and types of plates should be seven-year plates. - All classes and types of motor vehicle license plates issued, except those issued to motor vehicles in excess of 24,000 pounds, should be five-year (now seven-year) license plates. 1970 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 70-195.

Legislative intent as to treatment of plate surface. - Legislature intended, and provided for, the treatment of the entire surface of the plate, not a limitation of the treatment to the numerals and/or embossments appearing on the face of the plate. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-345.

Department of Corrections not required to manufacture stickers. - Former Code 1933, § 68-214 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-2-31 ), did not expressly require the Department of Offender Rehabilitation (now Department of Corrections) to undertake the manufacture of revalidation stickers and county- designation stickers. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-435.

Revalidation stickers must be of reflective material. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-461.

Responsibility of owner as to county decals. - Vehicle owner has mandatory responsibility to affix county name decal to plates in space provided. 1971 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U71-21.

40-2-32. Commemoration of college or university.

Reserved. Repealed by Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-74/HB 1055, effective May 12, 2010.

Editor's notes. - This Code section was based on Code 1981, § 40-2-29.21 , enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 658, § 1A; Ga. L. 1989, p. 921, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-32 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 779, § 1; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 7.

40-2-32.1. Commemorative license plates for Georgia organizations; promotional agreements; fees.

Repealed by Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-75/HB 1055, effective May 12, 2010.

Editor's notes. - This Code section was based on Code 1981, § 40-2-32.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 1997, p. 739, § 2; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 5; Ga. L. 2006, p. 1094, § 1/HB 1053.

40-2-33. Issuance of license plates and decals; payment and disposition of fees; compensation of tag agents; required identification.

    1. Upon compliance with the provisions of this chapter and the payment of the license fee required by law, the tag agent shall accept the application for registration and, except as otherwise provided for in this chapter, if the license plate or revalidation decal applied for is in such tag agent's inventory, he shall issue the appropriate plate or revalidation decal.
    2. The commissioner may provide for the issuance of a temporary license plate for any low-speed vehicle, to be displayed until such time as a license plate of the design required by Code Section 40-2-31 has been issued to the registrant as a replacement for such temporary license plate; provided, however, that any such temporary license plate shall designate the low-speed vehicle as such; and provided, further, that the commissioner shall make available for issuance low-speed vehicle license plates of the design required by Code Section 40-2-31 not later than September 1, 2002.
    3. If the license plate applied for is not in inventory, the application shall be approved and forwarded to the commissioner, who, upon receipt of a proper and approved application, shall issue the license plate applied for by mailing or delivering the plate to the applicant.  Until the license plate is received by the applicant from the commissioner, the applicant may operate the vehicle without a license plate therefor upon the receipt issued to him by the tag agent.
  1. Except as provided for in Code Section 40-2-22, the amount of commission permitted as compensation to tag agents under this Code section shall be $1.00 per license plate or revalidation decal issued during any calendar year. Twenty-five cents for each license plate or revalidation decal sold in excess of 4,000 during any one calendar year shall become the property of the county and shall be turned over to the fiscal authorities of the county by the tag agent. The remaining portion of such commissions shall be disposed of as provided in Code Section 40-2-34.
    1. Any other provisions of any law of this state, whether general, special, or local, to the contrary notwithstanding, and except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section and paragraph (2) of this subsection, the fees prescribed in subsection (b) of this Code section shall be retained by the tag agent appointed by the commissioner under this chapter and shall be his or her own personal compensation for the services rendered in the administration of this chapter, regardless of whether such agent may otherwise be an elected or appointed official of the county, and regardless of whether as such county officer he or she is compensated for the performance of the duties of such office on a fee basis or salary basis, or combination thereof. It shall be his or her duty, however, as agent for the commissioner in the administration of the purposes of this chapter, to compensate any additional personnel which may be necessary to enable said agent to effectuate the provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations promulgated under this chapter by the commissioner.
    2. If such tag agent shall be a salaried employee of the county and at a salary in excess of $7,999.00 per annum, the amount of such fees so collected shall go into the general treasury of the county. In such cases, it shall be the duty of the governing authorities of the county to furnish to the tag agent such additional clerical help as is necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.
  2. The initial issuance of any tag, on or after July 1, 2007, shall not be made unless the applicant presents at the time of application a valid Georgia driver's license or Georgia identification card. This subsection shall not apply to those applicants expressly exempted in Code Section 40-5-21 . (Ga. L. 1955, p. 659, § 3; Ga. L. 1957, p. 197, § 2; Ga. L. 1966, p. 508, § 3; Ga. L. 1970, p. 728, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-30 ; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 40; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Ga. L. 1988, p. 377, § 1; Ga. L. 1989, p. 857, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 159, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-33 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 779, § 2; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 8; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 3-6; Ga. L. 2002, p. 512, § 7; Ga. L. 2007, p. 531, § 1/SB 38; Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-68/HB 1055.)

Cross references. - Schedule of annual license fees, § 40-2-151 .

Minimum salaries of tax collectors and tax commissioners, § 48-5-183 .

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Compensation of county tax commissioner. - There is no conflict between Ga. Const. 1983, Art. IX, Sec. I, Para. III authorizing compensation for tax commissioners based on fees, salaries, or a combination thereof, and O.C.G.A. § 40-2-33(c)(2) which simply constitutes a statutory exception to those fees which otherwise may comprise the compensation paid to a county tax commissioner. Weldon v. Board of Comm'rs, 212 Ga. App. 885 , 443 S.E.2d 513 (1994).

O.C.G.A. § 48-5-183 controlled over a local act upon which a tax commissioner relied when, for during the commissioner's entire tenure, the commissioner's minimum salary under that section was higher than that provided in the local act, as well as higher than the maximum salary permitted in order to receive fees pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 40-2-33 and 48-5-180 . Brown v. Liberty County, 271 Ga. 634 , 522 S.E.2d 466 (1999).

Salary in excess of $7,999.00. - Tax commissioner is entitled to an incentive commission for selling license tags as long as the commissioner's salary is less than $7,999.00. Belcher v. Sumter County, 145 Ga. App. 173 , 243 S.E.2d 110 (1978).

Limitation of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-33(c)(2) necessarily applies to county officers, such as county tax commissioners, since every tag agent is either a tax collector or a tax commissioner and, thus, a county officer. Brown v. Liberty County, 271 Ga. 634 , 522 S.E.2d 466 (1999).

Cited in Laurens County v. Keen, 214 Ga. 32 , 102 S.E.2d 697 (1958); Keen v. Lewis, 215 Ga. 166 , 109 S.E.2d 764 (1959); Cain v. Lumpkin County, 229 Ga. 274 , 190 S.E.2d 910 (1972); Mobley v. Board of Comm'rs, 252 Ga. 33 , 311 S.E.2d 178 (1984); Montgomery County v. Sharpe, 261 Ga. App. 389 , 582 S.E.2d 545 (2003).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Salary in excess of $7,999.00. - Commissioner salaried in excess of $7,999.00 per year is not entitled to claim tag fees. 1973 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U73-6.

40-2-34. Reports and remittances by tag agents.

  1. All county tag agents accepting license applications shall endeavor to submit to the commissioner on at least a weekly basis reports of license applications handled and remit with such reports related sums of money to which the state is entitled. All tag reports of license applications handled and related sums of money to which the state is entitled must be submitted to the commissioner within seven calendar days from the close of the business week during which the aforementioned license applications were handled and related sums of money received. The term "business week" shall mean Monday through Friday (or Saturday if applicable).
  2. Funds received as a result of the handling of license applications shall be considered trust funds in the hands of such tag agents until such time as paid over to the commissioner.
  3. Failure to submit the reports or remit the funds within the period required by this Code section shall result in the penalties imposed by Code Section 48-2-44.
  4. Before the expiration of the time period within which a tag report is required to be filed with the commissioner or related funds remitted to the commissioner, application may be made to the commissioner for an extension. The commissioner shall be authorized, upon a showing of justifiable cause, to grant up to a 30 day extension from the deadline provided for the performance of the above duties. Only one such extension may be granted with regard to any reports or funds due the commissioner for a specific business week.
  5. Proof of mailing within the appropriate time periods provided for in this Code section, as evidenced by a United States Postal Service postmark, shall be prima-facie proof that the county tag agent has complied in a timely manner with the duties enumerated by this Code section.
  6. All funds derived from motor vehicle registrations or the sale of any license plates and remitted to the state shall be deposited in the general fund of the state treasury unless otherwise specifically authorized by the Constitution and provided for in this chapter. (Ga. L. 1980, p. 1050, § 2; Code 1981, § 40-2-31 ; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Code 1981, § 40-2-34 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 5; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 3-7; Ga. L. 2001, p. 1173, §§ 2-1, 3-1; Ga. L. 2006, p. 1094, § 2/HB 1053.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 22, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local law enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21, which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date of this Act." The act became effective January 1, 1997.

Ga. L. 2001, p. 1173, effective January 1, 2002, amended this Code section twice so as to specifically apply that amendment to those versions of this Code section in effect both before and after the amendment made to this Code section by Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, becomes effective.

Ga. L. 2006, p. 1094, § 13/HB 1053, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the 2006 amendment becomes effective January 1, 2007, only upon ratification of a constitutional amendment by the voters at the 2006 general election. The constitutional amendment (Ga. L. 2006, p. 1112) was approved by a majority of the qualified voters voting at the general election held on November 7, 2006.

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - County Tag Agent's Reports, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, Subject 560-10-4.

40-2-35. Commissioner to have license plates and decals by December 1.

The commissioner shall have in his possession on or before December 1 of each year, for distribution, the license plates and revalidation decals provided for in this chapter.

(Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Ga. L. 1931, p. 213, § 3; Code 1933, § 68-209; Code 1981, § 40-2-32 ; Code 1981, § 40-2-35 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2.)

40-2-36. Commissioner to furnish license plates and decals to tag agents; inventories and affidavits of missing plates; sale of plates for vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds.

  1. The commissioner shall furnish to each tag agent such number of motor vehicle license plates, revalidation decals, and decals as he may deem necessary for issuance by such agent, together with such forms and other supplies as are necessary to enable such agent to perform the duties required of him by this chapter.
  2. The county tag agent shall, immediately upon receipt of the motor vehicle license plates from the commissioner, take a full and complete inventory of the arriving shipment of license plates for motor vehicles over 26,000 pounds. The affidavit of lost or missing plates which the county tag agents are required to file with the commissioner shall be filed within ten days of the county tag agents' receipt of the license plates for motor vehicles over 26,000 pounds in weight. Failure to submit the required affidavit within ten days shall result in a denial of credit for any lost or missing license plates and the receiving county shall be responsible for full payment of said license plates.
  3. The county is responsible for providing a secure storage area for all license plates and revalidation decals.
  4. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, should a county desire to maintain an inventory of license plates for vehicles weighing in excess of 26,000 pounds and sell said license plates for vehicles weighing in excess of 26,000 pounds, the county shall first request permission in writing from the commissioner. Permission shall be granted at the discretion of the commissioner and, once granted, the permission may be revoked should the county fail to file tag and title reports with the commissioner in a timely and proper manner and fail to remit to the commissioner in a timely manner sums of money collected.
  5. The commissioner shall prescribe such reasonable rules and regulations as in his discretion may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this Code section. (Ga. L. 1955, p. 659, § 2; Ga. L. 1966, p. 508, § 2; Ga. L. 1980, p. 1050, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-33 ; Ga. L. 1990, p. 1883, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-36 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2.)

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Dealership registration in county of dealership's residence. - Unless a dealership wishes to obtain separate regular license plates for each vehicle obtained by the dealership from the factory prior to selling a vehicle, a vehicle cannot be registered in the county of the residence of the dealership. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 479.

Cost of motor vehicle license plates is an expense of the Department of Revenue. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-461.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 67.

40-2-36.1. Redesignated.

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2, effective July 1, 1990, redesignated former Code Section 40-2-36.1 as present Code Section 40-2-39.

40-2-37. Registration and licensing of vehicles of state and political subdivisions.

  1. All vehicles of the type required to be registered by Code Section 40-2-20 owned by the State of Georgia or any municipality or other political subdivision of this state and used exclusively for governmental functions, except those employed in secret investigatory police functions to which regular Georgia license plates are issued, and except for those assigned for the transportation of employees of the Georgia Lottery Corporation to which regular Georgia license plates are issued, shall be registered with the commissioner by the fiscal officers or other proper officials of the respective departments and agencies of the state, municipality, or political subdivision to which such vehicles belong prior to operation and use thereof. Such registration shall be made upon forms prescribed and prepared by the commissioner for such purpose and shall contain a brief description of the vehicle to be registered; its name and model; the name of the manufacturer; the manufacturer's vehicle identification number; the department, agency, political subdivision, or branch thereof to which such vehicle is to be registered; and such other information as to use and identity as the commissioner may require. Upon the filing of the properly executed application for registration, the commissioner, upon being satisfied that such vehicle is bona fide owned by the state or a municipality or political subdivision thereof and is to be used exclusively for governmental functions, shall issue, upon payment by such applicant of a license fee of $3.00, a license plate which shall be displayed upon such vehicle in the same manner as provided for private vehicles. The license fee, less the actual manufacturing cost of the plates which will be retained by the department, shall be deposited in the general fund of the state treasury. Such license plates shall be replaced at such time as other license plates issued for private vehicles are required to be replaced.
  2. For all vehicles owned by the State of Georgia or any municipality or other political subdivision of this state, except those vehicles employed in covert or secret investigatory police functions to which regular Georgia license plates are issued, those assigned for the transportation of employees of the Georgia Lottery Corporation to which regular Georgia license plates are issued, and those vehicles owned by the Department of Public Safety, the commissioner shall provide for registration and issuance of regular license plates for such vehicles. The license plates issued pursuant to this subsection shall be identical in appearance to regular license plates issued for private vehicles, except that such license plates shall not display any registration expiration. Such license plates may be transferred as provided for in subsection (d) of this Code section. Such license plates shall be issued at the time the vehicle is purchased by the state.
  3. All license plates issued to government vehicles pursuant to this Code section shall be marked in such a manner as to indicate the specific type of governmental unit operating the vehicle. These markings shall be prominently displayed and shall consist of one of the following appropriate legends: "STATE," "CITY," "COUNTY," "AUTHORITY," or "BOARD." In addition, each such license plate shall bear a county identification strip indicating the county in which the vehicle is based except that vehicles owned by the state shall not be required to bear such county identification strip. The commissioner shall be authorized to grant a waiver of the requirements of this subsection such that regular Georgia license plates may be issued for any vehicle or vehicles owned by the State of Georgia, any municipality of this state, or any other political subdivision of this state upon finding issuance of such waiver to be in the best interest of public safety, public welfare, or efficient administration.
  4. Any such license plates shall remain displayed and affixed upon such vehicle so long as such vehicle continues to be owned by the state or such municipality or political subdivision and used exclusively for governmental functions. Upon cessation of either such ownership or use, the license plate shall be removed from such vehicle and returned to the commissioner or the county tag agent for destruction. In the event of a transfer of a vehicle to a department or agency, or branch thereof, other than the specific one to which such vehicle is registered, the commissioner shall be notified in writing by the department or agency from which the same is being transferred upon a form prepared and furnished for such purpose by the commissioner. On due proof of loss of any such license plate, or of mutilation due to accidental or natural causes, another license plate may be issued upon application of the fiscal officer or other proper official of the department, agency, or political subdivision to which any such lost plate is registered.
  5. No person, firm, or corporation owning or operating any such vehicle shall display upon the motor vehicle any license plate provided for in this Code section unless at the time of such ownership or operation such vehicle is properly registered under this Code section and is owned by the state or a municipality or political subdivision of this state and is being used exclusively for governmental purposes. Any person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
  6. This Code section shall apply to all vehicle license plates issued for governmental vehicles on and after January 1, 2007. (Ga. L. 1960, p. 777, §§ 3, 4; Ga. L. 1971, p. 667, § 1; Ga. L. 1980, p. 357, §§ 1, 2; Code 1981, § 40-2-35 ; Code 1981, § 40-2-37 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1995, p. 1302, § 5; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 3-8; Ga. L. 2001, p. 1173, §§ 2-2, 3-2; Ga. L. 2006, p. 434, § 2/HB 363; Ga. L. 2007, p. 652, § 2/HB 518; Ga. L. 2018, p. 908, § 1/HB 695.)

The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2018, added the last sentence of subsection (c).

Cross references. - Purchase and lease of motor vehicles by local governments, § 36-91-1 .

Purchase and use of motor vehicles by state generally, § 50-19-1 et seq.

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

State agencies entitled to governmental license tags. - Agency of the State of Georgia is entitled to a Georgia governmental license tag, should one ever be needed. 1979 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 79-14.

Because the historic Chattahoochee Commission is an agency of the State of Georgia, the commission would be entitled to a Georgia governmental license tag. 1985 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 85-24.

Exclusive possession of motor vehicle basis for purchase of governmental license plate. - When the exclusive use and possession of a motor vehicle is donated to a municipality or political subdivision for use in a driver education program for a period of more than 30 days, the municipality or political subdivision is entitled to purchase, for use on that vehicle, a governmental license plate. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-246.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 85, 97, 98. 21 Am. Jur. 2d, Criminal Law, §§ 1, 5, 19, 28 et seq.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 189, 307 et seq.

ALR. - Civil rights and liabilities as affected by failure to comply with regulations as to registration of automobile or motorcycle, or licensing of operator, 54 A.L.R. 374 .

40-2-38. Registration and licensing of manufacturers, distributors, and dealers; issuance of manufacturer, distributor, and dealer plates.

    1. Manufacturers, distributors, and dealers engaged in the manufacture, sale, or leasing of vehicles required to be registered under Code Section 40-2-20 shall register with the commissioner, making application for a distinguishing dealer's number, specifying the name and make of motor vehicle, tractor, or trailer manufactured, sold, or leased by them, upon forms prepared by the commissioner for such purposes, and pay therefor a fee of $62.00, which shall accompany such application. Upon payment of such fee by a dealer, the commissioner shall furnish to the dealer one master number plate to expire each year in accordance with subsection (f) of this Code section, to be known as a dealer's number and to be distinguished from the number plates provided for in this chapter by different and distinguishing colors to be determined by the commissioner. The dealer plate for a franchise motor vehicle dealer shall be distinguishable from the dealer plate for a used car dealer and from the dealer plate for a motor vehicle wholesaler. A dealer's number plate is for the purpose of demonstrating or transporting dealer's vehicles or trailers for sale or lease. Persons engaged in the business of transporting vehicles for a dealer under a vehicle's own power shall be permitted to use such dealer's plate for the purpose of transporting a vehicle.
    2. No dealer may use or permit to be used a dealer's number for private use or on cars for hire, for lease, or other manner not provided for in this Code section. A dealer may use or permit to be used a dealer's number for private use on vehicles owned by the dealership, regardless of whether such vehicle has been issued a certificate of title or registered, when such vehicles are operated by an employee or corporate officer of the dealer which has been issued such number. A distinguishing dealer's number used by an employee or officer for private use shall authorize such person to operate the vehicle to which the number is attached on the public highways and streets. For purposes of this paragraph, "employee" means a person who works a minimum of 36 hours per week at the dealership.
    3. The manufacturer's or distributor's license plate is limited to no longer than six months' use per vehicle. Upon payment of such a fee by a manufacturer or distributor, the commissioner shall issue to manufacturers and distributors number plates with the word "Manufacturer" or "Distributor" on such plates. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude a manufacturer or distributor from using a "Manufacturer" or "Distributor" number plate on motor vehicles it owns when such vehicles are used for evaluation or demonstration purposes, notwithstanding incidental personal use by a manufacturer or distributor. A dealer may apply for one or more distinguishing dealer's numbers. In the event the dealers, distributors, or manufacturers desire more than one tag, they shall so state on the application, and, in addition to the fee of $62.00 provided in this Code section, shall pay $12.00 for each and every additional number plate furnished.
      1. Upon application and payment of the required fee, the commissioner shall issue to manufacturer headquarters or its affiliate number license plates with the words "Manufacturer HQ" on such plates. The manufacturer headquarters license plates must be used exclusively on motor vehicles owned or in possession of a manufacturer headquarters or its affiliate. Such manufacturer headquarters plates are limited to no longer than 24 months' use per vehicle.
      2. A manufacturer headquarters or its affiliate shall apply on a form prescribed by the commissioner and shall provide proof that the applicant:
        1. Is a bona fide manufacturer headquarters; and
        2. Maintains a system of records regarding use of such license plates. The manufacturer headquarters shall state in each application the number of manufacturer headquarters license plates requested.
      3. The manufacturer headquarters or its affiliate shall pay an application fee of $62.00 per application as provided in this Code section and shall pay $12.00 for each and every plate furnished. With respect to any manufacturer headquarters license plate issued to a manufacturer headquarters or its affiliate, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this title or Code Section 48-5C-1, such manufacturer headquarters or its affiliate, and any person operating or possessing a motor vehicle using a manufacturer headquarters license plate pursuant to this paragraph, shall not be subject to state or local title ad valorem tax fees with respect to such vehicle or manufacturer headquarters license plate.
      4. The manufacturer headquarters or its affiliate shall maintain a system of records regarding the motor vehicle to which the manufacturer headquarters license plate will be attached. Such record shall, at a minimum, contain the:
        1. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN);
        2. Name and address of the primary individual operating the vehicle; and
        3. Manner of use of the vehicle selected from the alternative uses referenced in subparagraph (E) of this paragraph.
      5. Vehicles with manufacturer headquarters license plates may be operated by persons authorized by the manufacturer headquarters or its affiliate on vehicles of its brand for the following manners of use:
        1. Evaluation, marketing, or demonstration purposes, notwithstanding incidental personal use by a manufacturer headquarters' authorized employee or other authorized person designated by such manufacturer headquarters or its affiliate; or
        2. As part of a vehicle leasing program operated by such manufacturer headquarters or its affiliate for the benefit of employees. Any operation of a motor vehicle by a person for an approved use pursuant to this subparagraph shall be deemed to be a demonstration of the motor vehicle for purposes of Code Section 48-8-39.
    4. The commissioner shall include a distinctive logo or emblem for any manufacturer's, distributor's, or manufacturer headquarters' license plate to be attached to an alternative fueled vehicle, as such term is defined in paragraph (7) of subsection (l) of Code Section 40-2-86.1. Alternative fuel vehicles bearing a special license plate pursuant to this subsection shall be subject to the alternative fuel vehicle fees as set forth in paragraph (19) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-2-151 at the time of initial issuance and annually thereafter in a manner prescribed by the commissioner. Display of a special license plate issued pursuant to this paragraph shall authorize travel by such alternative fueled vehicle in lanes for exclusive or preferential use designated pursuant to Code Section 32-9-4.
  1. Dealer plates shall be issued in the following manner:
    1. Dealers shall be issued a master plate and two additional plates, for a total of three initial plates; and
    2. In addition to the three dealer plates issued in accordance with paragraph (1) of this subsection, each dealer may also be issued one additional dealer plate for every 20 units sold in a calendar year.

      In order to determine the additional number and classification of plates to be issued to a dealer, a dealer shall be required to certify by affidavit to the department the number of retail and wholesale units sold in the prior calendar year using the past motor vehicle sales history of the dealer as identified by department records of documentation approved by the department. If no sales history is available, the department shall issue a number of plates based on an estimated number of sales for the coming calendar year. The department may, in its discretion, request documentation supporting sales history and may increase or decrease the number and classification of plates issued based on actual sales.

  2. This Code section shall not apply in any manner to mopeds as such term is defined in Code Section 40-1-1.
  3. The license plates issued pursuant to this Code section shall be revoked and confiscated upon a determination after a hearing that such dealer, distributor, manufacturer, or manufacturer headquarters has unlawfully used such license plates in violation of this Code section.
  4. If a license plate issued pursuant to this Code section is lost or stolen, the dealer, manufacturer, distributor, manufacturer headquarters, or other party to whom the license plate was issued must immediately report the lost or stolen plate to local law enforcement agencies. If a replacement license plate is sought, the dealer, manufacturer, distributor, manufacturer headquarters, or other party to whom the license plate was issued shall file a notarized affidavit with the department requesting a replacement plate. Such affidavit shall certify under penalty of perjury that the license plate has been lost or stolen and that the loss has been reported to a local law enforcement agency.
    1. The expiration of a license plate issued pursuant to this Code section shall be the last day of the registration period as provided in division (a)(1)(A)(ii) of Code Section 40-2-21, except that for the purposes of this subsection, the registration period shall be determined by the first letter of the legal name of the business listed on the application for registration or renewal of registration. An application for renewal of registration shall not be submitted earlier than 90 days prior to the last day of the registration period. A penalty of 25 percent of the total registration fees due shall be assessed any person registering pursuant to this Code section who, prior to the expiration of such person's registration period, fails to apply for renewal or if having applied fails to pay the required fees.
    2. A transition period shall commence on October 1, 2007, and conclude on December 31, 2007, for all existing registrations and any new registration applications presented prior to January 1, 2008. On or after January 1, 2008, new applications for registration shall be submitted and remain valid until the expiration of such registration as specified in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
  5. The commissioner shall adopt rules and regulations for the implementation of this Code section. (Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 7; Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Code 1933, § 68-213; Ga. L. 1963, p. 529, § 1; Ga. L. 1977, p. 591, § 1; Ga. L. 1978, p. 2241, § 2A; Code 1981, § 40-2-36 ; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 40; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Code 1981, § 40-2-38 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2978, § 1; Ga. L. 1993, p. 296, § 1; Ga. L. 1997, p. 1559, § 1; Ga. L. 2004, p. 631, § 40; Ga. L. 2005, p. 321, § 2/HB 455; Ga. L. 2006, p. 465, § 1/HB 1052; Ga. L. 2007, p. 652, §§ 3, 4/HB 518; Ga. L. 2015, p. 1219, § 2/HB 202; Ga. L. 2017, p. 774, § 40/HB 323; Ga. L. 2019, p. 486, § 2/SB 227.)

The 2017 amendment, effective May 9, 2017, part of an Act to revise, modernize, and correct the Code, revised punctuation in subparagraph (a)(4)(C).

The 2019 amendment, effective May 2, 2019, added paragraph (a)(5).

Cross references. - Registration and licensing of makers and dealers of motor vehicles, § 40-2-153 .

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Former Code 1933, § 68-213 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-2-38 ), was a license certificate law and a revenue measure. Cambron v. Cogburn, 116 Ga. App. 373 , 157 S.E.2d 534 (1967).

Liability for vehicle driver's negligence. - Dealer is not liable as a matter of public policy for the negligence of a driver of a vehicle to whom the dealer has illegally provided a dealer's tag. Cambron v. Cogburn, 116 Ga. App. 373 , 157 S.E.2d 534 (1967).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Mandatory registration for automobile dealer. - It is mandatory for automobile dealer to register with commissioner and obtain a dealer tag, even though the dealer has no use for such. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 473.

Used car dealers were required to buy dealer's tags since there was no distinction between used car dealers and new car dealers in former Code 1933, § 68-213 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-2-38 ). 1952-53 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 221.

Dealers in motor scooters are required to register and secure dealer's tags. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 471.

Tax commissioner accepting check returned by bank. - When a tax commissioner accepts a check as payment for a motor vehicle license plate, which is not honored by the bank but returned marked "insufficient funds," the commissioner does not have the authority to seize or cancel the license plate which the commissioner issued; the tag agent accepts checks for motor vehicle license fees at the agent's own risk; consequently, the tag agent has a cause of action against the applicant for the amount of the license fee and the possibility of criminal action against the applicant. 1968 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 68-215.

Dealer using tags for other than demonstrating or transporting vehicles. - Dealer who permits dealer's tags to be used for purposes other than demonstrating or transporting dealer-owned vehicles for sale may and should be prosecuted as for a misdemeanor, but the tags may not properly be picked up by a law enforcement officer unless the dealer registration has been revoked for cause. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 472.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 161 et seq.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 186.

40-2-38.1. Transporter license plate.

  1. A person engaged in the business of the limited operation of a motor vehicle or trailer for any of the following purposes may obtain a transporter plate authorizing the movement of the vehicle for the specific purpose:
    1. To facilitate the delivery of new or used motor vehicles, trucks, trailers, or buses between manufacturers, distributors, dealers, sellers, or purchasers;
    2. To move a mobile office, a mobile classroom, a mobile or manufactured home, or a house trailer;
    3. To drive a motor vehicle or pull a trailer that is part of the inventory of a dealer to and from a motor vehicle or trailer trade show or exhibition or to, during, and from a parade in which the motor vehicle or trailer is used; or
    4. To drive special mobile equipment in any of the following circumstances:
      1. From the manufacturer of the equipment to a facility of a dealer; or
      2. From one facility of a dealer to another facility of a dealer.
  2. This Code section shall not be construed to require a motor vehicle or trailer dealer to obtain transporter plates in order to transport vehicles for sale or lease.
  3. A person may obtain a transporter plate by filing an application with the Department of Revenue and paying the required fee. The fee for an initial transporter plate shall be $62.00 and the fee for all additional plates shall be $12.00. An application for a transporter plate must be on a form provided by the department and must contain the information required by the department. The department is authorized to promulgate regulations consistent with this Code section.
  4. Transporter plates issued under this Code section shall be distinguishable from dealer, wholesaler, manufacturer, or distributor plates, as provided for in Code Section 40-2-38.
  5. During the year for which it is issued, a person may transfer a transporter plate from one vehicle to another so long as the vehicle is driven or pulled only for a purpose authorized by subsection (a) of this Code section. In order to obtain a transporter plate, an applicant must demonstrate to the department compliance with all applicable federal and state laws.
  6. The license plates issued pursuant to this Code section shall be revoked and confiscated upon a determination after a hearing that an applicant has unlawfully used such license plates for purposes other than those expressly permitted by this Code section.
  7. If a license plate issued pursuant to this Code section is lost or stolen, the dealer, manufacturer, distributor, or other party to whom the license plate was issued must immediately report the lost or stolen plate to local law enforcement agencies. If a replacement license plate is sought, the dealer, manufacturer, distributor, or other party to whom the license plate was issued shall file a notarized affidavit with the department requesting a replacement plate. Such affidavit shall certify under penalty of perjury that the license plate has been lost or stolen and that the loss has been reported to a local law enforcement agency.
  8. This Code section shall not in any way apply to farm tractors.
    1. The expiration of a license plate issued pursuant to this Code section shall be the last day of the registration period as provided in division (a)(1)(A)(ii) of Code Section 40-2-21, except that for the purposes of this subsection, the registration period shall be determined by the first letter of the legal name of the business listed on the application for registration or renewal of registration. An application for renewal of registration shall not be submitted earlier than 90 days prior to the last day of the registration period. A penalty of 25 percent of the total registration fees due shall be assessed any person registering pursuant to this Code section who, prior to the expiration of such person's registration period, fails to apply for renewal or if having applied fails to pay the required fees.
    2. A transition period shall commence on October 1, 2007, and conclude on December 31, 2007, for all existing registrations and any new registration applications presented prior to January 1, 2008. On or after January 1, 2008, new applications for registration shall be submitted and remain valid until the expiration of such registration as specified in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
  9. The commissioner shall adopt rules and regulations for the implementation of this Code section. (Code 1981, § 40-2-38.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 2006, p. 465, § 2/HB 1052; Ga. L. 2007, p. 652, § 5/HB 518; Ga. L. 2012, p. 155, § 1/HB 732.)

40-2-39. Registration and licensing of new motor vehicle dealers; temporary site permits; administrative fines; penalty.

  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Dealer" means any person engaged in the business of selling or leasing or offering to sell or lease new motor vehicles and who is licensed or otherwise authorized to utilize trademarks or service marks associated with one or more makes of motor vehicles in connection with such sales or leases. The term "dealer" shall not mean any person engaged solely in the business of selling used motor vehicles and shall not mean any person engaged in the solicitation, advertising, or financing of the sale of new motor vehicles and shall not mean any person engaged solely in activities as a manufacturer or distributor of new motor vehicles.
    2. "Distributor" means any person who, pursuant to a contract with a manufacturer, sells or offers to sell new motor vehicles to new motor vehicle dealers.
    3. "Established place of business" means a permanent salesroom or sales office of a new motor vehicle dealer, which permanent salesroom or sales office is located in a permanent building on an open lot and which is marked by an appropriate sign and at which a permanent business of bartering, trading, or selling of new motor vehicles is carried on in good faith.
    4. "Manufacturer" means any person who makes or assembles new motor vehicles.
    5. "Motor vehicle" means every self-propelled vehicle intended primarily for use and operation on the public highways, except farm tractors and other machines and tools used in the production, harvesting, and care of farm products and except construction equipment.
    6. "New motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle which has been sold to a dealer and on which the original motor vehicle title has not been issued.
    7. "Person" means every natural person, partnership, corporation, association, trust, estate, or any other legal entity.
    8. "Temporary site" means a location at which new or used motor vehicles are sold or offered for sale for which a temporary site permit has been issued by the department in accordance with paragraph (4) of subsection (b) of this Code section and which location is:
      1. Used for a period not to exceed 96 hours in any 30 day period of time;
      2. Used not more than three times in any calendar year; and
      3. Located in the county in which the established place of business of the new motor vehicle dealer using the temporary site is located or an adjoining county.
    9. "Trade shows" means the display or solicitation for sale of new motor vehicles at a location other than the established place of business at which the sales transaction is accomplished or at which delivery of the new motor vehicle is completed.
    1. It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in any activity as a new motor vehicle dealer unless and until such person has registered with the commissioner and obtained a dealer's number license plate under Code Section 40-2-38 for each established place of business at which the person engages in such activity. The commissioner shall not accept such application for registration and shall not issue a dealer's number license plate unless and until the applicant establishes to the satisfaction of the commissioner, under criteria established by rules or regulations promulgated by the commissioner, that the applicant shall not engage in any activity of a new motor vehicle dealer except at an established place of business, a temporary site, or a properly licensed auto auction or licensed facility. This paragraph shall not be construed to prohibit a new motor vehicle dealer from delivering a vehicle off site if the transaction is initiated at an established place of business under this chapter.
    2. It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in any activity as a new motor vehicle dealer except at an established place of business which has been registered as such under this Code section and Code Section 40-2-38 or at a temporary site.
    3. This subsection shall not apply to new motor vehicle trade shows and shall not be construed to prohibit new motor vehicle trade shows or properly licensed auctions.
      1. At least 60 days prior to the opening of a sale at a temporary site, a new motor vehicle dealer must make application to the department for a temporary site permit.
      2. To be eligible for a temporary site permit, a new motor vehicle dealer must be registered with the department as required by Code Section 40-2-38. In order to obtain a temporary site permit, a new motor vehicle dealer must provide, on a form promulgated by the department, the following:
        1. The address, including county, of the new motor vehicle dealer's established place of business;
        2. The address, including county, of the temporary site location;
        3. The dates and hours of the temporary site sale;
        4. The number of temporary site sales already conducted by the new motor vehicle dealer during the calendar year in which the requested temporary site sale is to occur; and
        5. The name, address, and contact person of any sponsors, promoters, and lending institutions involved in or to be represented at the temporary site sale.
      3. As part of the application, a new motor vehicle dealer must submit written documentation demonstrating that the new motor vehicle dealer has complied with any licensing requirements applicable in the local jurisdiction in which the temporary site sale will occur and a copy of a written agreement with the owner of the real property where the sale is to occur.
      4. A temporary site permit issued pursuant to this paragraph shall be valid only for the dates and hours of the sale as indicated in the application submitted to the department and must be prominently displayed at the temporary site at all times during the sale. No new motor vehicle dealer may purchase more than three temporary site permits within a calendar year. A temporary site permit is not transferable to any other dealer or location.
      5. The filing fee for each application for a temporary site permit shall be $100.00.
  2. As an alternative to criminal or other civil enforcement, the commissioner, in order to enforce this Code section or any orders, rules, and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, may issue an administrative fine not to exceed $1,000.00 for each violation, whenever the commissioner, after a hearing, determines that any person has violated any provisions of this Code section or any regulations or orders promulgated thereunder. If, after a hearing, the commissioner determines that any person has violated this Code section more than once, the commissioner may suspend a dealer's registration for a period not to exceed ten days. Any hearing and any administrative review held pursuant to this Code section shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure for contested cases under Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act." Any person who has exhausted all administrative remedies available and who is aggrieved or adversely affected by a final order or action of the commissioner shall have the right of judicial review thereof in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50. All fines recovered under this subsection shall be paid into the state treasury. The commissioner may file, in the superior court (1) wherein the person under order resides; (2) if such person is a corporation, in the county wherein the corporation maintains its established place of business; or (3) in the county wherein the violation occurred, a certified copy of a final order of the commissioner, whether unappealed from or affirmed upon appeal, whereupon the court shall render judgment in accordance therewith and notify the parties. Such judgment shall have the same effect and proceedings in relation thereto shall thereafter be the same as though the judgment had been rendered in an action duly heard and determined by the court. The penalty prescribed in this Code section shall be concurrent, alternative, and cumulative with any and all other civil, criminal, or alternative rights, remedies, forfeitures, or penalties provided, allowed, or available to the commissioner with respect to any violation of this Code section or any order, rules, or regulations promulgated pursuant thereto. For purposes of this subsection, the sale of each motor vehicle while not in compliance with temporary site permit requirements shall constitute a separate violation.
  3. Any person who violates any provision of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 12 months, or both. (Code 1981, § 40-2-36.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 1988, p. 854, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-39 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 6; Ga. L. 2005, p. 321, § 3/HB 455; Ga. L. 2006, p. 72, § 40/SB 465.)

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2005, "section" was made lower case in paragraph (a)(8) and "department" was substituted for "Department of Motor Vehicle Safety" in paragraph (a)(8) and in subparagraph (b)(4)(A).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Effect of noncompliance on Commercial Code transaction. - Noncompliance with O.C.G.A. § 40-2-39 does not void a commercial transaction that is otherwise valid under the Commercial Code. Perimeter Ford, Inc. v. Edwards, 197 Ga. App. 747 , 399 S.E.2d 520 (1990).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 161 et seq.

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 186.

40-2-39.1. Restrictions on sale or advertising of used motor vehicles displayed or parked; exceptions; enforcement; penalty.

    1. An owner or lessee of any real property shall not authorize more than five used motor vehicles within any 12 month period displayed or parked on such real property for the purpose of selling or advertising the sale of such used motor vehicles by the owner or lessee of such vehicles.
    2. An owner or lessee of any real property shall not authorize more than two used motor vehicles at the same time displayed or parked on such real property for the purpose of selling or advertising the sale of such used motor vehicles by the owner or lessee of such vehicles.
    3. An owner or lessee of any used motor vehicle shall not display or park such used motor vehicle on the real property of another for the purpose of selling or advertising the sale of such used motor vehicle if the display or parking of such vehicle will cause the owner or lessee of the real property to be in violation of paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection.
    4. An owner or lessee of any used motor vehicle shall not display or park such used motor vehicle on the real property of another for the purpose of selling or advertising the sale of such used motor vehicle unless the owner or lessee of such vehicle has the prior permission of the owner or lessee of the real property.
  1. The provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply:
    1. If the owner or lessee of the vehicle displayed or parked is employed by the owner or lessee of the real property on which the vehicle is displayed or parked;
    2. If the owner or lessee of the vehicle displayed or parked is conducting business with the owner or lessee of the real property on which the vehicle is parked or displayed at the time such vehicle is displayed or parked; or
    3. If the real property on which a vehicle is parked is a parking lot for which a fee is charged for the use of such parking lot, the owner or lessee of the parked vehicle has paid the fee for the use of such parking lot, and such vehicle is legitimately parked on the property for purposes other than displaying, selling, or advertising the sale of such vehicle.
    1. An owner or lessee of any real property shall not authorize any used motor vehicle to be displayed or parked on such real property for the purpose of selling or advertising the sale of such used motor vehicle if such vehicle is not lawfully titled and registered in the name of the individual or entity offering such vehicle for sale in accordance with the applicable provisions of this chapter and Chapter 3 of this title.
    2. A person shall not advertise, display, sell, or offer for sale any used motor vehicle unless such vehicle is lawfully titled and registered in such person's name in accordance with the applicable provisions of this chapter and Chapter 3 of this title.
  2. Any law enforcement officer or agency, the board, or the owner or lessee of any real property upon which a vehicle is displayed or parked in violation of subsection (a) or (c) of this Code section for longer than 24 consecutive hours may have any such vehicle towed from such real property and stored at the expense of the owner or lessee of such vehicle and may then dispose of said vehicle in accordance with Chapter 11 of this title.
  3. A violation of this Code section shall constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice and shall be a violation of Part 2 of Article 15 of Chapter 1 of Title 10, the "Fair Business Practices Act of 1975." A violation of this Code section may be penalized as provided in Code Section 43-47-21 or any other applicable provision of this Code, including, but not limited to, the "Fair Business Practices Act of 1975."
  4. This Code section shall not apply to any person licensed under Chapter 47 of Title 43 or to any franchised motor vehicle dealer or any subsidiary wholly owned or controlled by such dealer. This Code section shall not eliminate or change the requirement for any person to obtain a license under Chapter 47 of Title 43 if such person engages in any conduct or activity for which a license is required under Chapter 47 of Title 43.
  5. Any person who violates this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 for each violation or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 12 months, or both. (Code 1981, § 40-2-39.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 2007, p. 214, § 2/HB 144.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2007, p. 214, § 4/HB 144, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part, that prosecutions for or cases involving any violation of law occurring prior to July 1, 2007, shall not be affected by the repeals or amendments made by it or abated by reason thereof.

40-2-40. Registration of delinquent vehicles; collection and disposition of penalties.

  1. The owner of a vehicle required to be registered under Code Section 40-2-20 which was registered for the previous year, who has failed to comply with Code Section 40-2-20 for the current year shall be deemed and held to be a delinquent under this Code section; and the registration of such vehicle shall, after the expiration of the owner's registration period, be subject to a penalty of 25 percent of the registration fee for such vehicle in addition to the fee provided by law, provided that such penalty shall in no event be levied prior to the expiration of the owner's registration period, notwithstanding that the owner failed to register such vehicle within an initial registration period.
  2. All applications for the registration of a delinquent vehicle shall, before being accepted by a tag agent, be first endorsed by a sheriff or a deputy sheriff, a chief of police or his or her designated representative, a state law enforcement officer, a tax commissioner, or a tax collector. The officer endorsing the delinquent application shall indicate, with his or her endorsement on the application, the total amount of the prescribed registration fee together with the 25 percent penalty provided in this Code section, and the full total of such amount shall be paid to the tag agent before any license plate or revalidation decal as provided for in this chapter shall be assigned to the applicant.
  3. All penalties assessed under this Code section shall be accredited in the office of the tag agent when received in the name of the officer making the endorsement, without regard to the residence of the applicant, whether such penalty is received through the exercise of such officer's authority as an arresting officer or through appearance of the applicant at his office for proper endorsement on an application.
  4. Between the first and fifth days of each calendar month, the tag agent shall remit to the respective fiscal authorities of the counties or cities employing the endorsing officers the full amount of such penalties accredited to such officers during and for the preceding calendar month. All sums accredited to state law enforcement officers shall be paid to the fiscal authorities of the county where the vehicle is registered. (Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Ga. L. 1931, p. 213, § 1; Code 1933, § 68-201; Ga. L. 1943, p. 341, § 2; Ga. L. 1953, Jan.-Feb. Sess., p. 392, § 2; Ga. L. 1959, p. 351, § 1; Ga. L. 1969, p. 266, § 1; Ga. L. 1973, p. 595, § 2; Ga. L. 1973, p. 781, § 1; Ga. L. 1974, p. 414, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-37 ; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1053, § 4; Code 1981, § 40-2-40 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 6; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 5; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 9; Ga. L. 2000, p. 523, § 2; Ga. L. 2001, p. 4, § 40; Ga. L. 2005, p. 334, § 14-3.1/HB 501.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 22, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local law enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21, which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date of this Act." The act became effective January 1, 1997.

Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 18, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Those parts of Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, an Act amending Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and amending Article 10 of Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles and mobile homes, approved April 19, 1995, in conflict with this Act are repealed."

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Sheriff formerly personally paid for services. - County sheriff was, for the performance of the endorsement service, only an agent of the state revenue commissioner and, as such an agent, the sheriff was personally paid for the services the sheriff rendered; there was no provision at that time which required the sheriff to pay such funds to the fiscal authority of the county. DeKalb County v. Broome, 215 Ga. 203 , 109 S.E.2d 769 (1959); Howell v. Muscogee County, 105 Ga. App. 515 , 125 S.E.2d 139 (1962).

Cited in Bentley v. State, 70 Ga. App. 494 , 28 S.E.2d 658 (1944); Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm'n v. Jones Transp., Inc., 213 Ga. 514 , 100 S.E.2d 183 (1957).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Operation by resident of vehicle licensed in another state. - Operation in the State of Georgia by a resident of the State of Georgia of a motor vehicle owned by the operator or another Georgia resident and licensed in another state was a violation of former Code 1933, § 68-201 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-2-40 ). 1968 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 68-258.

When mail order applicant penalized. - Mail order applicant cannot be subjected to civil penalties until April 2, or until the expiration of 15 days after the date of a proper money order receipt issued on or before April 1, whichever is later. 1958-59 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 209.

No discretion vested in sheriff in collection of penalty. - Former Code 1933, § 68-201 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-2-40 ), was not in itself a tax statute, but rather one of a regulatory nature, and from the words employed, no discretion was vested in the sheriff in collecting or not collecting the penalty or the fee as the words employed are those of command and not discretion. 1950-51 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 189.

Fee received by sheriff for delinquent application for automobile tag is remitted to the commissioner. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 469 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-201, prior to amendment by Ga. L. 1974, p. 414, § 1).

Penalties and the endorsement fees should be paid to officers in addition to compensation they receive as officers. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 216 (decided under former Code 1933, § 68-201, prior to amendment by Ga. L. 1974, p. 414, § 1).

Impoundment of vehicles. - Chief of police is authorized to seize and impound vehicles owned by residents of this state which are based in this state and for which no Georgia license plates have been issued. 1962 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 323.

Jurisdiction of probate court. - Probate court is without jurisdiction to try offense of operating motor vehicle with expired tags. 1958-59 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 67.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR. - 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. 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 .

Validity and construction of statute making it a criminal offense for the operator of a motor vehicle not to carry or display his operator's license or the vehicle registration certificate, 6 A.L.R.3d 506.

40-2-41. Display of license plates.

Unless otherwise permitted under this chapter, every vehicle required to be registered under this chapter, which is in use upon the highways, shall at all times display the license plate issued to the owner for such vehicle, and the plate shall be fastened to the rear of the vehicle in a position so as not to swing and shall be at all times plainly visible. No person shall display on the rear of a motor vehicle any temporary or permanent plate or tag not issued by the State of Georgia which is intended to resemble a license plate which is issued by the State of Georgia. The commissioner is authorized to adopt rules and regulations so as to permit the display of a license plate on the front of certain vehicles. It shall be the duty of the operator of any vehicle to keep the license plate legible at all times. No license plate shall be covered with any material unless the material is colorless and transparent. No apparatus that obstructs or hinders the clear display and legibility of a license plate shall be attached to the rear of any motor vehicle required to be registered in the state. Any person who violates any provision of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 8; Code 1933, § 68-215; Ga. L. 1977, p. 596, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-38 ; Ga. L. 1982, p. 1584, §§ 3, 6; Code 1981, § 40-2-41 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1991, p. 779, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, § 40; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 10; Ga. L. 2000, p. 523, § 3.)

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Display of Tags, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, Subject 560-10-10.

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes. - In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1910, § 1770(28) are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Constitutionality. - Former Code 1910, § 1770 was not open to attack on the ground that the statute was not one of the subjects included in the Governor's proclamation convening the legislature in extraordinary session. Lee v. State, 163 Ga. 239 , 135 S.E. 912 (1926) (decided under former Code 1910, § 1770 (28)).

License plate covering. - There was clear evidence of a violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-41 since the defendant's license plate was heavily obscured by a smoky covering. Knight v. State, 234 Ga. App. 359 , 506 S.E.2d 245 (1998).

Trial court erred in granting the suppression motions filed by both the first and second defendant, who occupied the vehicle stopped, as a violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-41 provided a sufficient reason for the traffic stop; moreover, the trial court erred in ruling that some portions of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-41 did not apply to the out-of-state license plate on the subject vehicle and by ruling that even though the word "Carolina" on the license plate was not legible, and hence, there was no violation of the statute because the police officer testified about an inability to recognize the tag as a South Carolina license plate. State v. Davis, 283 Ga. App. 200 , 641 S.E.2d 205 (2007).

Stop of vehicle justified by obscured plate. - Although the defendant's car had license plates from South Carolina, a state trooper was still justified in making a stop of the defendant's car because the visibility and display portions of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-41 were applicable to all vehicles, and the defendant's license plate had a bracket around the plate that blocked the view of the registration expiration date. Wilson v. State, 306 Ga. App. 286 , 702 S.E.2d 2 (2010).

Obstruction of one number on the defendant's license plate by the ball of a trailer hitch violated O.C.G.A. § 40-2-41 as the officer testified that the officer was unable to read the entire license plate and the video from the officer's car showed the hitch concealing at least one number. Worlds v. State, 328 Ga. App. 827 , 762 S.E.2d 829 (2014).

Cited in Cumbie v. State, 38 Ga. App. 744 , 145 S.E. 667 (1928); Undercofler v. White, 113 Ga. App. 853 , 149 S.E.2d 845 (1966); State v. Tate, 208 Ga. App. 117 , 430 S.E.2d 9 (1993); State v. Aguirre, 229 Ga. App. 736 , 494 S.E.2d 576 (1997); Gonzales v. State, 255 Ga. App. 149 , 564 S.E.2d 552 (2002); State v. Long, 301 Ga. App. 839 , 689 S.E.2d 369 (2010); Hernandez-Lopez v. State, 319 Ga. App. 662 , 738 S.E.2d 116 (2013).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

For an update of crimes and offenses for which the Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file identifying data, see 1991 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 91-35.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 283, 284, 285.

ALR. - Validity and construction of statute making it a criminal offense to "tamper" with motor vehicle or contents, or to obscure registration plates, 57 A.L.R.3d 606.

40-2-41.1. Authentic historical Georgia license plates.

  1. As used in this Code section, the term "authentic historical Georgia license plate" means a license plate originally issued in the year 1989 or earlier and originally required to be displayed on motor vehicles operated upon the streets and highways of this state in the year 1989 or earlier pursuant to former motor vehicle registration laws of this state.
  2. The owner of any antique motor vehicle manufactured in 1989 or earlier shall be authorized to display in lieu of and in the same manner as the license plate otherwise required under Code Section 40-2-41 an authentic historical Georgia license plate which clearly represents the model year within four years of any such antique motor vehicle, provided that the owner has properly registered such antique motor vehicle for the current year as otherwise required under this chapter and has obtained a current Georgia license plate or revalidation decal for such antique motor vehicle. Such currently valid Georgia license plate shall be kept in such antique motor vehicle at all times but need not be displayed in a manner to be visible from outside the vehicle.
  3. For purposes of this Code section, the authentic historical Georgia license plate shall be furnished by the owner of any such antique motor vehicle.
  4. No later than January 1, 2006, the commissioner shall have installed within the department's computer information system applicable to the registration of motor vehicles the necessary program which will include in the information relating to the current Georgia license plate or revalidation decal issued for an antique motor vehicle the information relating to the authentic historical Georgia license plate authorized to be displayed on such antique motor vehicle. (Code 1981, § 40-2-41.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 1999, p. 791, § 2; Ga. L. 2001, p. 1021, § 2; Ga. L. 2002, p. 415, § 40; Ga. L. 2005, p. 593, § 1/SB 117; Ga. L. 2018, p. 305, § 1/HB 671.)

The 2018 amendment, effective May 3, 2018, substituted "1989" for "1970" in two places in subsection (a) and in the first sentence of subsection (b); and inserted "within four years" in the middle of the first sentence of subsection (b).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 59.

40-2-42. Transfer of license plates and revalidation decals.

  1. A license plate or revalidation decal, when issued, shall be transferred from one vehicle to another vehicle of the same class acquired by the same person as provided in this chapter. Any use of a license plate or revalidation decal by any other person or persons in any manner not provided for in this chapter shall be a violation of this chapter.
  2. The commissioner shall provide by rules and regulations appropriate procedures whereby, upon the payment of a fee of $5.00, and, upon preparation and filing of an appropriate application therefor, currently valid annual and five-year license plates and revalidation decals shall be transferred from one vehicle to another vehicle of the same class of which ownership is acquired following that person's or those persons' ceasing to own or operate on the public roads the vehicle for which such plate was originally issued and during the initial registration period for the acquired vehicle. If such acquired vehicle is of a different class than the vehicle no longer owned or operated by such person, he or she shall submit the license plate currently issued to him or her for cancellation and, upon payment of any additional fee for registering such acquired vehicle, the commissioner shall issue a new license plate to such person for use on such acquired vehicle. License plates and revalidation decals may be transferred in accordance with the provisions of this subsection at any time after issuance or renewal thereof and until the expiration of the period for which issued.
  3. The commissioner shall provide appropriate procedures whereby, when the registered owner of a jointly owned motor vehicle is deceased, the license plate issued for the motor vehicle may, upon appropriate application and payment of fees, be transferred to the surviving owner's name, provided that the surviving owner acquires a new certificate of title under subsection (d) or paragraph (1) of subsection (e) of Code Section 40-3-34 and makes the payment of appropriate ad valorem taxes. (Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 8; Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Code 1933, § 68-214; Ga. L. 1939, p. 182, § 2; Ga. L. 1969, p. 266, § 3; Ga. L. 1972, p. 178, § 1; Ga. L. 1979, p. 615, § 2; Ga. L. 1981, p. 714, § 3; Code 1981, § 40-2-39 ; Ga. L. 1990, p. 8, § 40; Code 1981, § 40-2-42 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 779, § 3; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 11; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 7.)

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Undercofler v. White, 113 Ga. App. 853 , 149 S.E.2d 845 (1966); Garner v. State, 154 Ga. App. 839 , 269 S.E.2d 912 (1980).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Payment of fee is essential for transfer. - Change of registration of motor vehicle is accomplished only by payment of fee of $1.00 (now $5.00); this is true even though there is no actual change in the ownership of the vehicle but merely a change in the name of the owner. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 486.

Transferring of plates between trailers. - Company in sign business which employs number of portable electric sign trailers cannot transfer plates from one trailer to another as the trailers are used. 1972 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U72-9.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 35 et seq., 44 et seq., 50 et seq.

40-2-43. Certificate of registration; replacement of lost registration certificate; issuing of duplicates.

  1. Upon an applicant's compliance with all laws relevant to the registration of his vehicle, the appropriate licensing authority shall issue to such applicant a certificate of registration for his vehicle. If a registration certificate issued under this chapter is lost, stolen, mutilated, or destroyed or becomes illegible, the registered owner shall promptly make application for a duplicate registration certificate to the commissioner. The commissioner, upon receipt of an application and a fee of $1.00, shall issue the registered owner a duplicate registration certificate. If the application for a duplicate registration certificate is submitted to the same county that issued the current certificate of registration, the county tag agent may issue the duplicate registration certificate and may retain the application fee as compensation for issuing such duplicate certificate of registration.
  2. Any dealer or owner of a vehicle may apply to the commissioner or any county tag agent for a duplicate of the last registration certificate issued to the previous or current owner for that vehicle. The commissioner or county tag agent, upon receipt of an application and a fee of $1.00, shall provide the duplicate registration certificate. (Ga. L. 1925, p. 315, § 1; Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Code 1933, § 68-206; Ga. L. 1978, p. 901, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-41 ; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Ga. L. 1985, p. 1276, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1333, § 2; Code 1981, § 40-2-43 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 11A; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 8.)

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Refusal of plates to applicants who cannot prove ownership. - State Revenue Commissioner may refuse to issue motor vehicle license plates to firms or individuals who cannot submit satisfactory proof of ownership. 1952-53 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 224.

Dealer using tags for other than demonstrating or transporting vehicles. - Dealer who permits dealer tags to be used for purposes other than demonstrating or transporting dealer-owned vehicles for sale may, and should, be prosecuted as for a misdemeanor, but the tags may not properly be picked up by a law enforcement officer unless the dealer registration has been revoked for cause. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 472.

40-2-44. Reporting of theft, loss, or mutilation of license plates or revalidation decals; issuance of duplicates or replacements.

  1. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, the owner of a motor vehicle shall immediately report the theft, loss, or mutilation of a license plate or revalidation decal to the appropriate law enforcement agency or official, including but not limited to a municipal or county police department or officer, the county sheriff, the Department of Public Safety, or the Georgia State Patrol. Said owner shall obtain a copy of the police report and shall submit such copy to the commissioner with a fee of $8.00 to obtain a duplicate license plate or revalidation decal. Alternatively, the copy of the police report may be submitted to the applicant's county tag agent with a fee of $8.00 in which case the county tag agent is authorized to issue a replacement license plate or decal. In those instances in which a vehicle owner is unable to obtain a police report of such theft, loss, or mutilation of a license plate or revalidation decal, the owner shall be authorized to submit to the appropriate law enforcement agency or official and to either the commissioner or to the county tag agent a sworn affidavit as to such theft, loss, or mutilation in lieu of a police report and obtain a replacement license plate or decal. The county tag agent shall be entitled to retain as compensation for issuance of a replacement license plate or decal the same commission as provided for issuance of a new license plate or decal under the terms and conditions provided in subsection (b) of Code Section 40-2-33.
  2. If the license plate or revalidation decal is mutilated but still legible and if such license plate or revalidation decal is surrendered with the application for the duplicate, the requirements of subsection (a) of this Code section, relating to reporting the theft, loss, or mutilation of a license plate or decal and submitting a copy of a police report, shall not apply.
  3. A duplicate county decal when the original has been lost, defaced, or destroyed may be obtained from the commissioner at no cost. A replacement license plate or revalidation decal when the original has been lost in the mail prior to receipt by the registered owner shall be issued by the commissioner without charge upon application and completion of the form and affidavit prescribed by the commissioner setting forth the circumstances of nonreceipt of the license plate or decal. The owner shall report the nonreceipt or loss of the license plate or decal to the appropriate law enforcement agency or official, including, but not limited to, a municipal or county police department or officer, the county sheriff, or the Department of Public Safety. Said owner shall obtain a copy of the police report on which the license plate or decal number is listed and shall submit such copy to the commissioner. The owner shall not be charged a fee by the Department of Public Safety or the local law enforcement agency or official for a copy of such police report.
  4. The commissioner is authorized to establish procedures and promulgate rules and regulations for carrying out this Code section. (Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 8; Ga. L. 1931, p. 7, § 84; Code 1933, § 68-214; Ga. L. 1939, p. 182, § 2; Ga. L. 1969, p. 266, § 3; Ga. L. 1974, p. 397, § 1; Ga. L. 1979, p. 615, § 2; Ga. L. 1981, p. 714, § 3; Code 1981, § 40-2-40 ; Ga. L. 1982, p. 1584, §§ 1, 4; Code 1981, § 40-2-42 , enacted by Ga. L. 1983, p. 676, § 1; Ga. L. 1985, p. 1278, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 380, § 2; Code 1981, § 40-2-44 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2978, § 2; Ga. L. 1993, p. 91, § 40; Ga. L. 1994, p. 1851, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 742, § 1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 3-9.)

40-2-45. Transferring license plate or revalidation decal for "salvage", "rebuilt", damaged, or demolished motor vehicles.

  1. No person shall transfer a license plate or decal from one vehicle to any other motor vehicle which is a "salvage" or "rebuilt" motor vehicle as provided in Chapter 3 of this title unless the owner of such vehicle submits satisfactory proof to the commissioner that the motor vehicle inspection required by Code Section 40-3-37 has been performed and such vehicle has been determined to be in full compliance with the law.
  2. Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this Code section, if a vehicle is damaged, scrapped, dismantled, or demolished and transferred to an insurance company or licensed rebuilder and the transferor of such vehicle has a current, unexpired license plate and registration issued therefor, such license plate shall be transferred to another vehicle acquired by such transferor according to the provisions of Code Section 40-2-42 or 40-2-80 , as applicable. (Code 1981, § 40-2-43 , enacted by Ga. L. 1989, p. 1186, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-45 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 12; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 9.)

Cross references. - Certificates of title for salvage or rebuilt motor vehicles, §§ 40-3-35 , 40-3-36 .

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1998, the spelling of "transferred" was corrected in subsection (b).

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Surrender of plates and registrations of salvage vehicles. - Owners and insurers are required to surrender to the commissioner the license plates and registrations of vehicles which become salvage or total loss vehicles. 1997 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 97-24.

40-2-46. License plate commemorating 1996 Olympic Games.

Reserved. Repealed by Ga. L. 1998, p. 128, § 40, effective March 27, 1998, and by Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 10, effective May 1, 1998.

Editor's notes. - This Code section was based on Code 1981, § 40-2-46 , enacted by Ga. L. 1991, p. 1683, § 1; Ga. L. 1993, p. 972, § 1.

40-2-47. Permanent registration and license plates for certain trailers; "leased or rented trailer" defined.

  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, the owner of any trailer, including:
    1. Any leased or rented trailer and including single pole and twin-beam trailers and other trailers used in commercial logging or commercial trailers used for the hauling of unprocessed farm products used as or in connection with a motor vehicle, truck, or tractor used as a common or contract carrier for hire, a private carrier, or a motor carrier of property; or
    2. Any boat trailer, utility trailer, or noncommercial cattle and livestock trailer,

      shall have the option of obtaining a permanent registration and license plate for such trailer, in lieu of an annual registration and license plate, upon the payment of the one-time fee specified in Code Section 40-2-151 and compliance with the provisions of this Code section.

  2. The certificate of registration and license plate issued for a specific trailer under this Code section shall continue to be valid for the duration of the owner's interest in such trailer. No registration or license plate issued for any trailer under this Code section shall be transferred for any reason and a new registration and license plate shall be required when ownership of the trailer is transferred to a new owner. The payment of the fee for a permanent registration and license plate shall be in addition to and not in lieu of the payment of annual ad valorem taxes on such trailer during the period of December 1 to February 15.
  3. As used in this Code section, the term "leased or rented trailer" means any utility trailer that is owned by and leased or rented out by a person, firm, or corporation in the business of leasing or renting out such trailers. (Code 1981, § 40-2-47 , enacted by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1373, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 742, § 2; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 12A; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1074, § 5; Ga. L. 2009, p. 449, § 2/SB 128.)

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1994, "one-time" was substituted for "one time" in the first sentence of subsection (a) (now the ending undesignated paragraph).

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 2002, p. 1074, § 8, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall not abate any prosecution, punishment, penalty, administrative proceedings or remedies, or civil action related to any violation of law committed prior to the effective date of this Act." This Act became effective July 1, 2002.

Ga. L. 2009, p. 449, § 4/SB 128, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part, that the amendment to this Code section shall apply to registration and licensing of trailers on and after January 1, 2010.

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

40-2-48 through 40-2-49.1

Repealed by Ga. L. 2006, p. 1094, §§ 3-5, effective January 1, 2007.

Editor's notes. - Code Sections §§ 40-2-48 through 40-2-49.1, relating to license plates promoting United States Disabled Athletes Fund, Nongame- Endangered Wildlife Program, and Bobwhite Quail Restoration Initiative were based on Code 1981, § 40-2-48 , enacted by Ga. L. 1995, p. 238, § 1; Ga. L. 1997, p. 1415, § 1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 11; Code 1981, § 40-2-49, enacted by Ga. L. 1995, p. 1021, § 1; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 13; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 12; Code 1981, § 40-2-49.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1999, p. 791, § 1. For current provisions regarding these license plates, see Code Section 40-2-86 .

Ga. L. 2006, p. 1094, § 13/HB 1053, not codified by the General Assembly, provides for the repeal of these Code sections effective January 1, 2007, only upon ratification of a constitutional amendment by the voters at the 2006 general election. The constitutional amendment (Ga. L. 2006, p. 1112) was approved by a majority of the qualified voters voting at the general election held on November 7, 2006.

Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-75/HB 1055, repealed the reservation of these Code sections.

40-2-49.2. License plates promoting the conservation of wildflowers.

Repealed by Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-75/HB 1055, effective May 12, 2010.

Editor's notes. - This Code section was based on Code 1981, § 40-2-49.2 , enacted by Ga. L. 2001, p. 1021, § 3. For current provisions regarding this license plate, see Code Section 40-2-86(l)(5).

40-2-49.3. License plates promoting dog and cat reproductive sterilization support programs.

Repealed by Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-75/HB 1055, effective May 12, 2010.

Editor's notes. - This Code section was based on Code 1981, § 40-2-49.3 , enacted by Ga. L. 2002, p. 1215, § 2. For current provisions regarding this license plate, see Code Section 40-2-86(l)(6).

ARTICLE 2A FLEET VEHICLES

40-2-50. Definitions.

As used in this article, the term:

  1. "Fleet" means 100 or more motor vehicles.
  2. "Fleet registration plan" means the method of registering the motor vehicles of a fleet as provided in this article. (Code 1981, § 40-2-50 , enacted by Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 12A; Ga. L. 2018, p. 677, § 1/HB 898.)

The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2018, substituted "100" for "1,000" in paragraph (1).

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1998, the subsection (a) designation was deleted and a period was substituted for "; and" at the end of paragraph (1).

40-2-51. Fleet enrollment.

  1. A corporation or firm which has an established place of business in this state or which is controlled by a parent corporation which has an established place of business in this state and which owns or operates under a lease agreement a fleet which is not required to be registered under the International Registration Plan in accordance with Article 3A of this chapter may enroll in the fleet registration plan and register and obtain licenses to operate the motor vehicles in such fleet as provided in this article.
    1. Applications for enrollment of a fleet under the fleet registration plan may be submitted to the department in the form and manner prescribed by the commissioner.
    2. An applicant for enrollment of a fleet under the fleet registration plan shall pay a fleet enrollment fee of $50.00 for initial enrollment of the fleet.
    3. If the department determines that the applicant is eligible for fleet registration and proper application has been made, the department shall enroll the fleet, indicate the amount of license fees due for the fleet, and assign a unique registration account number to the applicant. (Code 1981, § 40-2-51 , enacted by Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 12A; Ga. L. 2018, p. 677, § 1/HB 898.)

The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2018, in subsection (a), deleted the paragraph (a)(1) designation and deleted paragraph (a)(2), which read: "The provisions of this article for fleet enrollment, registration, and licensing shall not apply to any corporation or firm which leases or rents motor vehicles to other persons for use thereby."; in paragraph (b)(1), substituted "by the commissioner" for "thereby during the period of December 1 of the prior registration year to February 15 of the year for which the license plates are to be issued. Motor vehicles of a fleet shall be enrolled separately by classes and by counties where the vehicles are to be registered"; in paragraph (b)(2), deleted the subparagraph (b)(2)(A) designation, substituted "$50.00" for "$200.00", and deleted subparagraph (b)(2)(B), which read: "If the applicant for enrollment of a fleet or the parent corporation or firm thereof has not had an established place of business in this state for a period of ten consecutive years or more, the applicant shall post a $25,000.00 surety bond at the time of applying for enrollment."; and, at the end of paragraph (b)(3), substituted "and assign a unique registration account number to the applicant" for "validate the enrollment form or forms for the applicable county or counties, and mail the validated original enrollment form or forms with fees indicated to the applicant. Such enrollment shall be valid for a period which is concurrent with that period for which regular license plates are issued for use under Code Section 40-2-31. Thereafter, the department shall, prior to December 1 of each year of the enrollment period, mail the enrollee a statement of the amount of license fees due and payable during the forthcoming registration period for such fleet".

40-2-52. Registration and licensing of fleet motor vehicles.

  1. Within 30 days of receipt of a validated fleet enrollment form, the owner or operator of the enrolled fleet shall register and obtain licenses to operate the motor vehicles by submitting properly completed certificates of title for each vehicle in a fleet and any supporting documents required by the commissioner. The owner or operator of the enrolled fleet which acquires a vehicle after approval of fleet enrollment shall submit the properly completed certificates of title and required supporting documentation for any additional vehicles within 30 days from the date of acquisition of such vehicle.
  2. All certificates of title by the owner or operator of an enrolled fleet required under this article shall be submitted to the department electronically and in a manner prescribed by the commissioner.
  3. Any applicable state and local title and ad valorem taxes required pursuant to Code Section 48-5C-1 shall be paid for any new motor vehicle to be included in an enrolled fleet.
  4. The provisions of Article 2 of this chapter for registering and licensing motor vehicles generally which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this article shall apply to the registration and licensing of each vehicle of an enrolled fleet. (Code 1981, § 40-2-52 , enacted by Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 12A; Ga. L. 2018, p. 677, § 1/HB 898.)

The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2018, substituted the present provisions of subsection (a) for the former provisions, which read: "After receipt of a validated fleet enrollment form, the owner or operator of the enrolled fleet shall register and obtain licenses to operate the motor vehicles thereof during the period of December 1 of the prior registration year to February 15 of the year for which the license plates are to be issued."; substituted the present provisions of subsection (b) for the former provisions, which read: "An applicant for registration of a vehicle of an enrolled fleet shall submit a validated original fleet enrollment form to the county tag agent in each county in which vehicles enrolled under the fleet registration plan are to be registered."; added subsection (c); and redesignated former subsection (c) as subsection (d).

40-2-53. License plates for fleet motor vehicles.

  1. Upon electronic submission of all applicable requirements of this article, the department shall send notification of such to the county tag agent. Upon receipt of such notification from the department, the county tag agent shall issue to the applicant a fleet motor vehicle license plate for each vehicle of the fleet to be registered and licensed in such county.
  2. Fleet motor vehicle license plates shall be similar in design to regular license plates issued under Code Section 40-2-31, except that such fleet motor vehicle license plates shall contain such words or symbols, in addition to the numbers and letters otherwise prescribed by law, so as to distinctively identify the motor vehicles on which they are placed as fleet motor vehicles. Such motor vehicle license plates shall contain the word "FLEET" in the location of and in lieu of the revalidation decal required under Code Section 40-2-8 so as to distinctly identify the motor vehicle as part of an enrolled fleet.
  3. License plates issued under this Code section shall be renewed annually upon payment of a renewal fee to the department. Such fee shall be the same amount that would be charged for a revalidation decal for such vehicle.
  4. License plates issued under this Code section may be transferred between vehicles of the same class upon electronic submission to the department of the information required under Code Section 40-2-51 for any vehicle added to an enrolled fleet and the payment of the required registration fees for such additional vehicle. (Code 1981, § 40-2-53 , enacted by Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 12A; Ga. L. 2018, p. 677, § 1/HB 898.)

The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2018, substituted the present provisions of subsection (a) for the former provisions, which read: "(a)(1) Upon submission by the applicant of a validated original fleet enrollment form and compliance with all applicable requirements for registration and licensing of motor vehicles, the county tag agent shall issue to the applicant a fleet motor vehicle license plate for each vehicle of the fleet to be registered and licensed in such county.

"(2) The county tag agent shall mark the validated original fleet enrollment form as 'taxes paid' or 'tax exempt,' as applicable, and return such form to the registrant.

"(3) The registrant shall submit to the department the validated original fleet enrollment form which has been marked as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection."; in subsection (b), deleted "and issued for the same period as" following "similar in design to" near the beginning of the first sentence, substituted the present provisions of the second sentence for the former provisions, which read: "It shall be a requirement that a county name decal shall be affixed and displayed on license plates issued under this Code section."; substituted the present provisions of subsection (c) for the former provisions, which read: "(c)(1) License plates issued under this Code section shall be renewed annually with a generic fleet revalidation decal.

"(2) The bond required under subsection (b) of Code Section 40-2-51 shall be required at the time of any renewal of such license plates if at the time of such renewal the registrant or the parent corporation or firm thereof has not had an established place of business in this state for a period of ten consecutive years or more."; and substituted the present provisions of subsection (d) for the former provisions, which read: "License plates issued under this Code section shall be transferred between vehicles in the same manner as provided by Code Section 40-2-80 for special license plates issued under Article 3 of this chapter."

40-2-54. Audits; regulatory authority.

  1. The department or its designated agent may perform an audit of any fleet registrant to ensure compliance with the requirements of this article which may include, without limitation, examination of records of all vehicles in a fleet, additions to or deletions from a fleet since the most recent such audit, and proof of proper payment of or exemption from ad valorem taxes on fleet vehicles.
  2. The department is authorized to promulgate such rules and regulations as the department shall find necessary to implement the provisions of this article. (Code 1981, § 40-2-54 , enacted by Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 12A; Ga. L. 2018, p. 677, § 1/HB 898.)

The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2018, deleted former subsection (a), which read: "If a fleet registrant or the parent corporation or firm thereof has not had an established place of business in this state for a period of ten consecutive years or more, the department or its designated agent shall annually conduct an audit of such fleet registrant to ensure compliance with the requirements of this article which may include, without limitation, examination of records of all vehicles in a fleet, additions to or deletions from a fleet since the most recent such audit, and proof of proper payment of or exemption from ad valorem taxes on fleet vehicles. The fleet registrant shall bear the cost of or reimburse the department for the expenses of any audit required by this subsection."; redesignated former subsection (b) as present subsection (a); and added subsection (b).

40-2-55. Termination of participation in fleet registration plan.

An enrollment of a fleet in the fleet registration plan shall be terminated by the department in the event:

  1. The department determines on the basis of an audit that fees for registration and licensing are not paid as required for 5 percent or more of the total vehicles in the fleet which are registered in this state;
  2. Of the conviction of the fleet registrant for any unlawful use of any license plate issued for a fleet vehicle;
  3. Of the failure of the fleet registrant to pay title and ad valorem taxes as required for any fleet vehicle; or
  4. Of the failure of the fleet registrant to pay enrollment fees as required. (Code 1981, § 40-2-55 , enacted by Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 12A; Ga. L. 2018, p. 677, § 1/HB 898.)

The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2018, deleted former paragraph (1), which read: "The department determines on the basis of an audit that fees for registration and licensing are not paid as required for 20 percent or more of the vehicles in any class of vehicles in the fleet or of those vehicles of the fleet registered in a county;"; redesignated former paragraph (2) as present paragraph (1), and, in paragraph (1), added "which are registered in this state" at the end; redesignated former paragraphs (3) and (4) as present paragraphs (2) and (3), respectively; in paragraph (3), inserted "title and" in the middle and added "or" at the end; redesignated former paragraph (5) as present paragraph (4), and, in paragraph (4), deleted "; or" following "required" at the end; and deleted former paragraph (6), which read: "Of the forfeiture of the surety bond required under Code Section 40-2-52 or 40-2-53".

ARTICLE 3 PRESTIGE LICENSE PLATES AND SPECIAL PLATES FOR CERTAIN PERSONS AND VEHICLES

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Issuance of Registration and License Plates, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Driver Services, Registration and Licensing of Vehicles, Subject 375-2-3.

Issuance of Special Prestige License Plates, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, Subject 560-10-22.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d. - 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 59.

40-2-60. Prestige license plates.

  1. Motor vehicle owners who are residents of Georgia, upon complying with the motor vehicle laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles and, except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, upon the payment of a fee of $35.00 in addition to the regular motor vehicle registration fee, shall be issued special personalized prestige license plates by the commissioner. Special personalized license plates issued pursuant to this Code section shall be subject to an additional annual registration fee of $35.00 as a condition of obtaining an annual revalidation decal for such license plate which fee shall be collected by the county tag agent at the time of collection of other registration fees and shall be remitted to the state as provided in Code Section 40-2-34.
  2. For the purpose of this Code section, a license plate with a low number or special number may also be considered as a prestige or personalized plate.
  3. Additional fees for special or distinctive license plates issued pursuant to  this article shall be as prescribed in the Code  section authorizing such plate, and, when no additional fee is specified, no additional fee shall be required.
  4. The commissioner is authorized to establish procedures and promulgate rules and regulations for carrying out this Code section.

    (Ga. L. 1968, p. 1404, §§ 2, 3, 5; Ga. L. 1985, p. 261, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 779, § 4; Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-69/HB 1055.)

40-2-60.1. Standardized administrative process for special license plates; designs; fees; application process.

  1. The General Assembly finds that in recent years numerous laws were enacted providing for the issuance of special license plates for certain persons and vehicles. The General Assembly finds that there exists a need for a standardized administrative process to provide for the authorization of issuance of such special license plates and that the public interest will be best served by such a standardized administrative process. While recognizing that the legislature may not abridge or delegate its powers, the General Assembly declares that it is in the public interest of this state for future proposals for special license plates to be governed by the administrative process established by this Code section rather than by the legislative process.
    1. The General Assembly determines that the issuance of special license plates to support an agency, fund, or program beneficial to the people of this state that is administered by a nonprofit corporation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code and the dedication of a portion of the funds raised from the issuance of these special license plates is in the best interests of the people of this state and is authorized by Article III, Section IX, Paragraph VI(n) of the Constitution.
    2. The commissioner is authorized to adopt rules and regulations for the issuance of special license plates for groups of individuals and vehicles. All special license plates issued pursuant to this paragraph shall not be subject to the provisions of subsection (e) of this Code section.
  2. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Manufacturing fee" means a $25.00 fee paid at the time an application is submitted or upon the issuance of a special license plate.
    2. "Registration fee" means the fees as set forth in Code Section 40-2-151.
    3. "Special license plate" means a license plate that is authorized under this Code section that commemorates an event or supports an agency, fund, or program beneficial to the people of this state or is specifically authorized by the General Assembly for certain persons or vehicles.
    4. "Special license plate fee" means a $35.00 fee paid at the time a special license plate is issued.
    5. "Special license plate renewal fee" means a $35.00 fee paid at the time a special license plate is renewed and a revalidation decal is issued.

    (c.1) Any special license plate issued under the provisions of this Code section shall be subject to the manufacturing fee, special license plate fee, and special license plate renewal fee provided for in this Code section.

  3. The agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation sponsoring a special license plate, in cooperation with the commissioner, shall design a special distinctive license plate appropriate to promote the program benefited by the issuance of the special license plate. Special license plates for groups of individuals and vehicles shall be readily recognizable by the insertion of an appropriate logo or graphic identifying the special nature of the license plate. All special license plates must be of the same size as general issue motor vehicle license plates and shall include a unique design and identifying number, whereby the total number of characters does not exceed an amount to be determined by the commissioner. No two recipients shall receive identically numbered plates. Spaces for county name labels or other authorized labels, including the "In God We Trust" label, are required for all special license plates unless expressly eliminated under this chapter.
  4. Before the department disburses to the agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation funds from the issuance of special license plates, the agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation must provide a written statement stating the manner in which such funds will be utilized. In addition, a nonprofit corporation must provide the department with documentation of its nonprofit status under Section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code. The agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation shall periodically provide to the commissioner an audit of the use of the funds or other evidence of use of the funds satisfactory to the commissioner. If it is determined that the funds are not being used for the purposes set forth in the statement provided by the agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation, the department shall withhold payment of such funds until such noncompliance issues are resolved.
  5. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this Code section, no special license plate shall be produced until such time as the State of Georgia has, through a licensing agreement or otherwise, received such licenses or other permissions as may be required to produce the special license plate. The department shall not utilize any graphic that is copyrighted unless a sponsoring organization has secured for the state the authority to utilize the copyrighted design at no cost to the state and the sponsoring organization has agreed to hold the state harmless against any related claim of copyright violation or infringement. The design of the initial edition of any special license plate, as well as the design of subsequent editions and excepting only any part or parts of the designs owned by others and licensed to the state, shall be owned solely by the State of Georgia for its exclusive use and control, except as authorized by the commissioner. The commissioner may take such steps as may be necessary to give notice of and protect such right, including the copyright or copyrights. However, such steps shall be cumulative of the ownership and exclusive use and control established by this subsection as a matter of law, and no person shall reproduce or otherwise use such design or designs, except as authorized by the commissioner.
  6. Any Georgia resident who is the owner of a motor vehicle, except a commercial vehicle as defined in 49 C.F.R. Section 390.5, upon complying with the motor vehicle laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles and payment of the appropriate fees as set forth in this Code section in addition to the required motor vehicle registration fee, shall be able to apply for a special license plate as provided in this Code section.
  7. Any party requesting a special license plate not previously authorized by this chapter shall make application with the department. The application shall include a design of the proposed license plate and a bond of $50,000.00 to serve as surety for moneys collected from applicants by the sponsor. The commissioner shall review and approve or disapprove all applications within 30 days of receipt by the department. Upon approval of the design by the commissioner, the special license plate authorized pursuant to this subsection shall not be issued except upon the receipt by the department of at least 1,000 prepaid applications together with the manufacturing fees within two years after the date of approval by the commissioner. After such time if the minimum number of applications is not met, the department shall not continue to accept the manufacturing fees, and all fees held by the department and the sponsor shall be refunded to applicants; provided, however, that once the department has received 1,000 prepaid applications along with the manufacturing fees, the sponsor shall not be entitled to a refund.
  8. Upon the receipt of 1,000 applications together with manufacturing fees, the commissioner shall provide a letter of certification to the sponsor verifying that the sponsor has satisfied the requirements of the provisions of this Code section. Upon receipt of the letter of certification, the sponsor, if necessary, shall seek enactment of the appropriate legislation required to authorize manufacture of the special license plate.
  9. The department shall not be required to continue to manufacture a special license plate or accept renewals and applications if the number of active registrations falls below 500 registrations at any time during a calendar year. A current registrant may continue to renew such special license plate during his or her annual registration period. The department may continue to issue such special license plates that it has in its inventory to assist in achieving the minimum number of registrations. If the number of active registrations for the special license plate falls below 500 at any time during a calendar year, the sponsoring agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation shall be required to obtain 1,000 applications accompanied by the manufacturing fee to continue to manufacture the special license plate.
  10. Special license plates shall be transferred from one vehicle to another vehicle in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 40-2-80.
  11. Special license plates shall be issued within 30 days of application once the requirements of this Code section have been met.
  12. The commissioner is authorized and directed to establish procedures and promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this Code section. The rules and regulations to be promulgated by the commissioner may provide for exceptions whereby a special license plate will not be issued if the issuance of the plate would adversely affect public safety. (Code 1981, § 40-2-60.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 1997, p. 1559, § 2; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 12B; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 3-10; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1215, § 3; Ga. L. 2005, p. 1159, § 1/SB 168; Ga. L. 2006, p. 72, § 40/SB 465; Ga. L. 2007, p. 180, § 1/HB 457; Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-70/HB 1055; Ga. L. 2012, p. 1070, § 3/SB 293; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 40/HB 79.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2, effective July 1, 1990, renumbered former Code Section 40-2-60.1 as present Code Section 40-2-61.

Ga. L. 1997, p. 1559, § 5, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that no special license plate shall be issued under that Act prior to January 1, 1998.

Ga. L. 2012, p. 1070, § 4/SB 293, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2012, and shall apply to license plates issued on or after such date."

40-2-61. Special license plates for U.S. Senators and Congressmen, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of House of Representatives, Justices of Supreme Court, and Judges of Court of Appeals.

The commissioner shall design and issue distinctive license plates to each United States Senator and Congressman elected from the State of Georgia, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each Justice of the Supreme Court and each Judge of the Court of Appeals to be placed on such official's personal motor vehicle. Each such distinctive license plate shall indicate the individual's elected office and no county name decal need be affixed to such plate. The special license plate authorized by this Code section shall be issued to such elected official upon application and payment of a manufacturing fee of $25.00 and upon compliance with the state laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles and shall be transferred as provided in Code Section 40-2-80. Distinctive license plates issued pursuant to this Code section shall be renewed annually, and revalidation decals shall be issued upon compliance with the laws relating to registration and licensing and upon payment of an additional registration fee of $35.00 which shall be collected by the county tag agent at the time for collection of other registration fees and shall be remitted to the state as provided in Code Section 40-2-34.

(Code 1981, § 40-2-60.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 1989, p. 1186, § 2; Ga. L. 1990, p. 1902, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-61 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 779, § 4.1; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 14; Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-71/HB 1055.)

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

40-2-62. Special license plates for members of General Assembly.

The commissioner shall mail special and distinctive license plates printed for members of the General Assembly and former members of the General Assembly who are hereby deemed to have emeritus status after having served in the General Assembly eight or more years to the local tag agent in the counties wherein such members or former members reside on or before the owner's registration period each year. Such special and distinctive license plates shall be issued only upon applications made to the local tag agent and payment of a $25.00 manufacturing fee. License plates may be issued by the local tag agent upon a proper application and in accordance with the terms of this chapter. License plates issued pursuant to this Code section need not contain a place for the county name decal, and no county name decal need be affixed to a license plate issued pursuant to this Code section. Special and distinctive license plates issued pursuant to this Code section shall be renewed annually, and revalidation decals shall be issued upon compliance with the laws relating to registration and licensing and upon payment of an additional registration fee of $35.00 which shall be collected by the county tag agent at the time for collection of other registration fees and shall be remitted to the state as provided in Code Section 40-2-34. The special license plates issued pursuant to this Code section shall be transferred to another vehicle as provided in Code Section 40-2-80.

(Ga. L. 1968, p. 1216, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-61 ; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1333, § 3; Code 1981, § 40-2-62 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 779, § 4.1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 7; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 15; Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-72/HB 1055; Ga. L. 2013, p. 265, § 1/SB 121.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 22, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local law enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21, which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date of this Act." The act became effective January 1, 1997.

Ga. L. 2013, p. 265, § 4/SB 121, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part, that the amendment of this Code section shall only apply to members of the General Assembly who have eight or more years of service as of December 31, 2013.

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

40-2-63. Special license plates for sheriffs.

The commissioner shall mail to the local tag agents special and distinctive license plates for the elected sheriffs in the counties of this state on or before the owner's registration period of each sheriff. The sheriffs shall make application with the local tag agent and shall pay a fee of $25.00. Special sheriffs' license plates issued pursuant to this Code section shall be renewed annually, and revalidation decals shall be issued upon compliance with the laws relating to registration and licensing and upon payment of an additional registration fee of $25.00 which shall be collected by the county tag agent at the time of collection of other registration fees and shall be remitted to the state as provided in Code Section 40-2-34. License plates shall be issued by the local tag agents upon proper application and in accordance with the terms of Article 2 of this chapter. Only one special and distinctive license plate shall be issued to each elected sheriff; however, a sheriff may choose to use the sheriff's distinctive license plate either on the law enforcement vehicle assigned to such sheriff or on his or her personal vehicle.

(Ga. L. 1978, p. 1530, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-62 ; Ga. L. 1985, p. 261, § 2; Ga. L. 1990, p. 159, § 2; Code 1981, § 40-2-63 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 779, § 5; Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 8.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 22, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local law enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21, which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date of this act." The act became effective January 1, 1997.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 282.

40-2-63.1. Special license plates for public safety first responders injured in line of duty.

  1. Any law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical services personnel, ambulance driver, or other similarly employed public safety first responder who has sustained a major injury through no fault of his or her own during the competent performance of his or her official duties shall, upon application therefor, be issued a free special and distinctive motor vehicle license plate upon presentation of proof that such individual is entitled to receive such special license plate. For purposes of this Code section, a major injury shall be one that was of sufficient seriousness as to require hospitalization or comparable medical treatment and which resulted in permanent disability or disfigurement of the body.
  2. License plates issued pursuant to this Code section need not contain a place for the county name decal as required pursuant to Code Section 40-2-9, and a county name decal need not be affixed to a license plate issued pursuant to this Code section. Special and distinctive license plates issued pursuant to this Code section shall be renewed annually, and free revalidation decals shall be issued upon compliance with the laws relating to registration and licensing. The special license plates issued pursuant to this Code section shall be transferred to another vehicle as provided in Code Section 40-2-80.
  3. The commissioner is authorized and directed to design the license plate, establish procedures, establish standards for proof of eligibility, and promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this Code section. (Code 1981, § 40-2-63.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 816, § 1/HB 48; Ga. L. 2019, p. 908, § 1/SB 138.)

The 2019 amendment, effective July 1, 2019, in subsection (a), inserted "free" in the first sentence, and deleted the former second sentence, which read: "Application for such license plates shall include payment of a manufacturing fee of $25.00."; and, in subsection (b), inserted "as required pursuant to Code Section 40-2-9" in the first sentence, and in the second sentence, inserted "free" and deleted "and upon payment of an additional registration fee of $35.00 which shall be collected by the county tag agent at the time for collection of other registration fees and shall be remitted to the state as provided in Code Section 40-2-34" following "registration and licensing".

40-2-64. Honorary consuls' license plates.

  1. Honorary consuls, upon application and compliance with the state motor vehicle laws relative to the registration and licensing of motor vehicles, payment of the regular license fees for license plates as provided by law, payment of a manufacturing fee of $25.00, and payment of an additional annual registration fee of $25.00 which fee shall be collected by the county tag agent at the time of collection of other registration fees and shall be remitted as provided in Code Section 40-2-34, shall be issued license plates as prescribed in Code Section 40-2-31 in duplicate for use on their official or private passenger automobiles. Such license plates shall be fastened to both the front and the rear of the vehicle. No more than two sets of honorary consular corps license plates shall be issued to any country. Such plates shall not be used by any person after his or her appointment has ended.
  2. License plates issued under this Code section shall not be transferred so as to be used by any person other than the person to whom such plate was originally issued but shall be transferred to another vehicle as provided in Code Section 40-2-80.
  3. The commissioner is authorized to establish procedures and promulgate rules and regulations for carrying out this Code section. (Ga. L. 1976, p. 215, §§ 2-4; Code 1981, § 40-2-63 ; Ga. L. 1985, p. 261, § 3; Code 1981, § 40-2-64 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 13.)

40-2-64.1. Foreign Organization license plates.

  1. In accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act as provided for in Code Section 50-1-2, the commissioner shall design a distinctive Foreign Organization license plate.
  2. Upon application and compliance with the state motor vehicle laws relating to the registration and licensing of motor vehicles and the payment of any registration fees, including the $25.00 manufacturing fee and the $35.00 special license plate fee or the $35.00 special license plate renewal fee, as applicable, official representatives of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representatives Office in the United States who maintain a presence in Georgia shall be issued Foreign Organization license plates as prescribed in Code Section 40-2-31 in duplicate. Such license plates shall be fastened to both the front and the rear of the vehicle.
  3. Official representatives of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representatives Office in Atlanta accredited by the Georgia Department of Economic Development shall be entitled to Foreign Organization license plates for the representative's privately owned motor vehicle. Such license plates shall not be used by any representative after his or her presence in Georgia has terminated.
  4. License plates issued under this Code section shall not be transferred so as to be used by any person other than the person to whom such plates were originally issued but shall be transferred to another vehicle as provided in Code Section 40-2-80.
  5. The commissioner is authorized to establish procedures and promulgate rules and regulations for implementing this Code section. (Code 1981, § 40-2-64.1 , enacted by Ga. L. 2005, p. 334, § 14-4/HB 501; Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-73/HB 1055.)

40-2-65. Special license plates for members of active reserve components of the United States.

    1. Motor vehicle owners who are assigned or attached members of troop program units of any branch of the active reserve components of the United States inside or outside the State of Georgia shall be eligible to receive free motor vehicle license plates for private passenger cars, motorcycles, or trucks used for personal transportation. Motor vehicle owners who are members of any National Guard unit in a state adjoining the State of Georgia and for whom there is no National Guard unit in the county of their residence shall be eligible to receive free motor vehicle plates for private passenger cars, motorcycles, or trucks used for personal transportation to identify such vehicle owner as a reservist. Such license plates shall be issued in compliance with the state motor vehicle laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles as prescribed in Article 2 of this chapter. No person shall be entitled to more than one free motor vehicle license plate for any calendar year; provided, however, that, upon payment of the regular license fee provided for in Code Section 40-2-151 and a manufacturing fee of $25.00, a reservist shall be entitled to receive one additional such license plate. For each additional license plate for which an initial $25.00 fee was required, there shall be an additional annual registration fee of $25.00, which fee shall be collected by the county tag agent at the time of collection of other registration fees and shall be remitted to the state as provided in Code Section 40-2-34. Additional words or symbols in addition to numbers and letters prescribed by law shall be inscribed upon such license plates so as to identify distinctively the owner as a member of one of the following branches of the United States military reserve: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard. The commanding officer of each active reserve component program unit or the adjutant general of the National Guard unit of each neighboring state shall, upon request of any reserve member or National Guard member of that unit, respectively, furnish to that member approved documentation supporting the member's current membership in the respective reserve or National Guard unit. This documentation shall be presented annually to the tax commissioner of the county in which the reserve member or National Guard member applies for the special license plate under this Code section and upon subsequent reregistration for each succeeding year.
    2. Motor vehicle owners who are retired from any branch of the active reserve components whose active reservists are eligible to obtain free motor vehicle license plates under paragraph (1) of this subsection, upon application for license plates and upon compliance with the state motor vehicle laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles as prescribed under Article 2 of this chapter, shall be issued, free of charge, a license plate as prescribed in that article for private passenger cars, motorcycles, or trucks used for personal transportation. Each such retired member shall be entitled to no more than one such free plate for any calendar year; provided, however, that, upon payment of the regular license fee provided for in Code Section 40-2-151 and a manufacturing fee of $25.00, a retired member shall be entitled to receive one additional such license plate. For each additional license plate for which an initial $25.00 fee was required, there shall be an additional annual registration fee of $25.00, which fee shall be collected by the county tag agent at the time of collection of other registration fees and shall be remitted to the state as provided in Code Section 40-2-34. The license plates issued pursuant to this paragraph shall, in addition to the numbers and letters prescribed by law, be identical to those issued pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection to members of the branch of the active reserve component from which that person retired. The commanding officer of each active reserve component program unit shall, upon request of any retired reserve member from that unit, furnish to that retired member approved documentation supporting the retired member's current retired membership status from that reserve unit. This documentation shall be presented to the tax commissioner of the county in which the retired reserve member applies for the special license plate under this Code section.
    1. Upon transfer of the ownership of a private passenger vehicle upon which there is a license plate distinctively identifying the owner thereof as a member of one of the components of the United States military reserve, whether the owner is an active or retired reservist, and acquisition by the reservist of another motor vehicle, the license plate issued pursuant to this Code section shall be placed on such newly acquired motor vehicle, and such reservist shall notify the commissioner of such transfer of the license plate to such newly acquired motor vehicle in such manner as the commissioner may prescribe by regulation. No transfer or cancellation fee shall be charged for the transfer of free reservist license plates. There shall be a transfer and cancellation fee of $5.00 for the transfer of any other reservist license plate.
    2. Should an active reservist who has been issued a license plate or license plates be discharged or otherwise separated, except by retirement, from his or her reserve unit, the immediate commanding officer of such active reservist shall obtain the discharged member's license plate or license plates at the time of the discharge and shall forward same to the commissioner along with a certificate to the effect that such person has been discharged, and thereupon the commissioner shall issue a regular license plate, at no additional charge, to such former reservist to replace the reservist plate or plates. Should an active reservist enlist or be commissioned after purchasing a regular license plate for his or her current registration period, the commanding officer of the unit in which such person enlists or is commissioned shall likewise secure the regular license plate of such person and return same to the commissioner, along with a certificate to the effect that such person has been enlisted or commissioned in a troop program unit of the reserve components, and the effective date thereof, whereupon the commissioner shall issue a reservist license plate, at no extra charge, to such new member to replace the returned regular plate. Upon such request for a change in plate for a discharged reservist or a newly enlisted reservist, the commanding officer shall furnish such member with a copy of the commanding officer's letter to the commissioner requesting the appropriate change in plate, which copy of such letter may be used by such member pending the issuance of the new plate.
  1. The commissioner shall promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to enforce compliance with all state license laws relating to the use and operation of private passenger cars, motorcycles and trucks before issuing these plates in lieu of the regular Georgia license plates, and all applications for such plates shall be made to the commissioner. The commissioner is specifically authorized to promulgate all rules and regulations necessary to ensure compliance in instances where such vehicles have been transferred or sold. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, such plates shall be nontransferable.
  2. The spouse of a member of the active reserve of the United States military who is killed while serving in a combat arena shall continue to be eligible to be issued a distinctive license plate as provided in this Code section so long as such spouse does not remarry. (Ga. L. 1978, p. 2205, §§ 1-3; Code 1981, § 40-2-64 ; Ga. L. 1989, p. 14, § 40; Code 1981, § 40-2-65 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 779, § 6; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2785, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 3311, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 9; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 6; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 16; Ga. L. 2000, p. 830, § 1; Ga. L. 2002, p. 838, § 2; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1074, § 5; Ga. L. 2006, p. 803, § 2/SB 538.)

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2001, a comma was inserted following "motorcycles" in the second sentence in paragraph (a)(1) and in the first sentence in paragraph (a)(2).

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 22, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local law enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21, which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date of this Act." The act became effective January 1, 1997.

Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 18, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Those parts of Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, an Act amending Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and amending Article 10 of Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles and mobile homes, approved April 19, 1995, in conflict with this Act are repealed."

Ga. L. 2002, p. 1074, § 8, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall not abate any prosecution, punishment, penalty, administrative proceedings or remedies, or civil action related to any violation of law committed prior to the effective date of this Act."

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Free United States Military Reserve Tags, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, Subject 560-10-29.

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

40-2-66. Special license plates for members of Georgia National Guard.

    1. Motor vehicle owners who are members of the Georgia National Guard, upon application for license plates and upon compliance with the state motor vehicle laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles as prescribed under Article 2 of this chapter, shall be issued, free of charge, a license plate, as prescribed in that article for private passenger cars, motorcycles, or trucks used for personal transportation. Each member of the Georgia National Guard shall be entitled to no more than one such free plate at a time; provided, however, that, upon payment of the regular license fee provided for in Code Section 48-10-2 and a manufacturing fee of $25.00, a member shall be entitled to one additional such license plate. For each additional license plate for which an initial $25.00 fee was required, there shall be an additional annual registration fee of $25.00 which fee shall be collected by the county tag agent at the time of collection of other registration fees and shall be remitted to the state as provided in Code Section 40-2-34. Additional words or symbols, in addition to the numbers and letters prescribed by law, shall be inscribed upon such license plates so as to identify distinctively the owner as a member of the Georgia National Guard. The adjutant general of Georgia shall, upon request of any member of that National Guard unit, furnish to that member approved documentation supporting the member's current membership in that National Guard unit. This documentation shall be presented annually to the tax commissioner of the county in which the National Guard member applies for the special license plate under this Code section and upon subsequent reregistration for each succeeding year.
    2. Motor vehicle owners who are retired members of the Georgia National Guard, upon application for license plates and upon compliance with the state motor vehicle laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles as prescribed under Article 2 of this chapter, shall be issued, free of charge, a license plate as prescribed in that article for private passenger cars, motorcycles, or trucks used for personal transportation. Each retired member of the Georgia National Guard shall be entitled to no more than one such free plate at a time; provided, however, that, upon payment of the regular license fee provided for in Code Section 48-10-2 and a manufacturing fee of $25.00, a member shall be entitled to one additional such license plate. For each additional license plate for which an initial $25.00 fee was required, there shall be an additional annual registration fee of $25.00 which fee shall be collected by the county tag agent at the time of collection of other registration fees and shall be remitted to the state as provided in Code Section 40-2-34. The license plates issued pursuant to this paragraph shall, in addition to the numbers and letters prescribed by law, be identical to those issued pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection. The adjutant general of Georgia shall, upon request of any member retired from that National Guard unit, furnish to that retired member approved documentation supporting the member's retired membership status in that National Guard unit. This documentation shall be presented annually to the tax commissioner of the county in which the retired National Guard member applies for the special license plate under this Code section and upon subsequent reregistration for each succeeding year.
  1. Upon transfer of the ownership of a private passenger vehicle upon which there is a license plate bearing the words "National Guard" and acquisition by the member or retired member of the National Guard of another motor vehicle, the license plate issued pursuant to this Code section shall be placed on such newly acquired motor vehicle and such member or retired member shall notify the commissioner of such transfer of the license plate to such newly acquired motor vehicle in such manner as the commissioner may prescribe by regulation and shall pay a transfer and cancellation fee of $5.00 and shall also pay license fees in an amount, if any, that the license fee for the newly acquired vehicle exceeds the license fee of the original vehicle. No transfer or cancellation fee shall be charged for the transfer of free National Guard license plates. There shall be a transfer and cancellation fee of $5.00 for the transfer of any other National Guard license plate. Should a member of the National Guard who has been issued a National Guard license plate be discharged or otherwise separated except by retirement from the National Guard, the immediate commanding officer of such member shall obtain the discharged member's National Guard license plate or plates at the time of the discharge and shall forward same to the commissioner along with a certificate to the effect that such member has been discharged, and thereupon the commissioner shall issue a regular license plate or plates, at no additional charge, to such former National Guard member to replace the National Guard plate. Should a member of the National Guard enlist or be commissioned in the National Guard after purchasing a regular license plate for the current year, the commanding officer of the unit in which such member enlists or is commissioned shall likewise secure the regular license plate of such new member and return same to the commissioner, along with a certificate to the effect that such new member has been enlisted or commissioned in the National Guard and the effective date thereof, whereupon the commissioner shall issue a National Guard license plate, at no extra charge, to such new member to replace the returned regular plate. Upon such request for a change in plate for a discharged member of the National Guard or a newly enlisted member of the National Guard, the commanding officer shall furnish such member with a copy of the commanding officer's letter to the commissioner requesting the appropriate change in plate, which copy of such letter may be used by such member pending the issuance of the new plate.
  2. The commissioner shall furnish to the sheriff of each county in the state an alphabetical arrangement of the list of names, addresses, and license plate letters of each person to whom a license plate is issued under this Code section, and it shall be the duty of the sheriffs of the state to maintain and to keep current such lists for public information and inquiry.
  3. The commissioner shall make such rules and regulations as necessary to enforce compliance with all state license laws relating to the use and operation of a private passenger car before issuing National Guard plates in lieu of the regular Georgia license plates, and all applications for such plates shall be made to the commissioner. The commissioner is specifically authorized to make all rules and regulations necessary to make adequate provision for instances where such vehicles have been transferred or sold. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, such plates shall be nontransferable.
  4. The spouse of a member of the National Guard who is killed while serving in a combat arena shall continue to be eligible to be issued a distinctive license plate as provided in this Code section so long as such spouse does not remarry. (Ga. L. 1953, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 57, §§ 1-4; Ga. L. 1958, p. 642, § 2; Ga. L. 1973, p. 457, § 1; Ga. L. 1977, p. 593, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-65 ; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Ga. L. 1988, p. 854, § 2; Ga. L. 1989, p. 14, § 40; Code 1981, § 40-2-66 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 779, § 7; Ga. L. 1993, p. 1260, § 3; Ga. L. 1994, p. 1848, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 10; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 7; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 17; Ga. L. 2000, p. 830, § 2; Ga. L. 2006, p. 803, § 3/SB 538.)

Cross references. - Organized militia, T. 38, C. 2, A. 1, P. 2.

Code Commission notes. - Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1992, a comma was deleted following "paragraph" in the fourth sentence of paragraph (a)(2).

Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2001, a comma was inserted following "motorcycles" in the first sentence of paragraph (a)(1) and "motorcycles, or" was substituted for "motorcycle or" in the first sentence of paragraph (a)(2).

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1995, p. 809, § 22, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local law enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21, which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date of this Act." The act became effective January 1, 1997.

Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 18, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Those parts of Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, an Act amending Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and amending Article 10 of Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles and mobile homes, approved April 19, 1995, in conflict with this Act are repealed."

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Free National Guard License Plate, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, Subject 560-10-24.

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

40-2-67. Special license plates for state commanders of nationally chartered veterans' organizations.

  1. The state commanders of nationally chartered veterans' organizations, upon application and compliance with the state motor vehicle laws relative to the registration and licensing of motor vehicles, upon payment of the regular license fees for license plates as provided by law, and upon the payment of an additional initial fee of $25.00 and an additional annual registration fee of $25.00 which fee shall be collected by the county tag agent at the time of collection of other registration fees and shall be remitted as provided in Code Section 40-2-34, shall be issued license plates as prescribed in Code Section 40-2-31 for use on their official or private passenger automobiles, upon which, in lieu of the numbers prescribed by said Code section, shall be such figures or symbols indicative of the office held by such individuals as may be prescribed by the commissioner.
  2. License plates issued under this Code section may not be transferred so as to be used by any person other than the person to whom such plate was originally issued but shall be transferred to another vehicle as provided in Code Section 40-2-80 , except that such plates shall not be used by any person after vacating the office of commander of any of the organizations enumerated in this Code section. (Ga. L. 1960, p. 3; Code 1981, § 40-2-66 ; Ga. L. 1985, p. 261, § 4; Code 1981, § 40-2-67 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 779, § 8; Ga. L. 1994, p. 413, § 1; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 8; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 18.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 18, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Those parts of Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, an Act amending Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and amending Article 10 of Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles and mobile homes, approved April 19, 1995, in conflict with this Act are repealed."

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

40-2-68. Special license plates for Medal of Honor winners.

  1. Motor vehicle owners who have been awarded the Medal of Honor and who are residents of this state, upon complying with the motor vehicle laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, shall be issued two distinctive personalized license plates free of charge. Such license plates shall be fastened to both the front and the rear of the vehicle. Such license plates shall be transferred to another vehicle as provided in Code Section 40-2-80. In the event of the death of the person who received the special license plates pursuant to this Code section, upon complying with the motor vehicle laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, his or her surviving spouse may retain the special license plates and continue to display such plates on the vehicle.
  2. The commissioner may begin issuing distinctive personalized license plates to such Medal of Honor winners for the year 1980 and thereafter.
  3. The commissioner is authorized and directed to design the license plate, establish procedures, and promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this Code section. (Ga. L. 1979, p. 887, §§ 2-4; Code 1981, § 40-2-67 ; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Code 1981, § 40-2-68 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 9; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 19; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 14; Ga. L. 2005, p. 1159, § 2/SB 168.)

Cross references. - Tax exemption for veterans awarded Medal of Honor, § 48-5-478.3 .

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 18, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Those parts of Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, an Act amending Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and amending Article 10 of Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles and mobile homes, approved April 19, 1995, in conflict with this Act are repealed."

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

40-2-69. Free license plates and revalidation decals for disabled veterans.

  1. Any disabled veteran who is a citizen and resident of this state shall, upon application therefor, be issued a free motor vehicle license plate. As used in this Code section, the term "disabled veteran" shall have the same meaning as that term is defined in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 48-5-48.
  2. Any disabled veteran shall, upon application therefor, be issued a free motor vehicle license plate upon presentation of proof that he or she qualifies as a disabled veteran. A disabled veteran who claims that his or her disability is permanent shall furnish proof of such permanent disability through a letter from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
    1. Once a disabled veteran has established his or her eligibility to receive free motor vehicle license plates as a result of being permanently disabled, he or she shall be entitled to receive free plates or free revalidation decals in succeeding years on any automobile, private passenger pickup truck, motorcycle, station wagon, or van type vehicle of three-quarter tons or less that he or she may own or jointly with his or her spouse or minor child own or acquire in the future.
    2. Once a disabled veteran has established his or her eligibility to receive free motor vehicle license plates but his or her disability has not been determined to be a permanent disability, he or she shall be entitled to receive free plates or free revalidation decals in succeeding years upon furnishing, on an annual basis, proof of his or her status as a disabled veteran through a letter from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Such free plates or free revalidation decals shall apply to any automobile, private passenger pickup truck, motorcycle, station wagon, or van type vehicle of three-quarter tons or less that he or she may own or jointly with his or her spouse or minor child own or acquire in the future.
      1. Two license plates or revalidation decals each year shall be furnished for vehicles other than motorcycles to disabled veterans qualifying under this Code section unless the originals are lost. Such plates shall be fastened to both the front and the rear of the vehicle.
      2. One license plate or revalidation decal each year shall be furnished for motorcycles to disabled veterans qualifying under this Code section unless the original is lost. Such plate shall be fastened to the rear of the vehicle.
    3. In the event of the death of the person who received the special license plates pursuant to this Code section, upon complying with the motor vehicle laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, his or her unremarried surviving spouse or minor child may continue to receive the free special license plates and revalidation decals until the remarriage of the surviving spouse or death of the surviving spouse or minor child. (Ga. L. 1956, p. 336, § 1; Ga. L. 1957, p. 69, § 1; Ga. L. 1959, p. 349, § 1; Ga. L. 1961, p. 554, § 1; Ga. L. 1965, p. 325, § 1; Ga. L. 1968, p. 1211, § 1; Ga. L. 1970, p. 315, § 1; Ga. L. 1970, p. 316, § 1; Ga. L. 1975, p. 720, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-68 ; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Ga. L. 1990, p. 45, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-69 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1498, § 1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 393, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1997, p. 1559, § 3; Ga. L. 2007, p. 668, § 1/SB 81; Ga. L. 2015, p. 816, § 2/HB 48; Ga. L. 2016, p. 166, § 2/SB 258; Ga. L. 2016, p. 770, § 1/HB 862.)

The 2016 amendments. The first 2016 amendment, effective April 26, 2016, substituted the present provisions of subsection (a) for the former provisions, which read: "Any disabled veteran who is a citizen and resident of this state shall, upon application therefor, be issued a free motor vehicle license plate. As used in this Code section, the term 'disabled veteran' means any veteran who was discharged under honorable conditions and who has been adjudicated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as being 100 percent totally disabled or as being less than 100 percent totally disabled but is compensated at the 100 percent level due to individual unemployability and is entitled to receive a statutory award from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for:

"(1) Loss or permanent loss of use of one or both feet;

"(2) Loss or permanent loss of use of one or both hands;

"(3) Loss of sight in one or both eyes; or

"(4) Permanent impairment of vision of both eyes of the following status: central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye, with corrective glasses, or central visual acuity of more than 20/200 if there is a field defect in which the peripheral field has contracted to such an extent that the widest diameter of visual field subtends on angular distance no greater than 20 degrees in the better eye." The second 2016 amendment, effective May 3, 2016, made identical changes as the first 2016 amendment.

Cross references. - Veterans', honorary, and distinctive drivers' licenses, § 40-5-36 .

Administrative Rules and Regulations. - Free Veterans License Plate, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, Subject 560-10-27.

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Qualifications for vehicle exemption. - For disabled veteran to be entitled to vehicle exemption, veteran's disability must be service connected. 1979 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 79-19.

40-2-70. Special license plates for disabled veterans not qualifying under Code Section 40-2-69.

  1. Any citizen and resident of the State of Georgia who has been discharged from the armed forces under conditions other than dishonorable or who is currently serving in the armed forces, who is disabled to any degree specified and enumerated in Code Section 40-2-69, and who is the owner of a private passenger motor vehicle, but who cannot qualify under Code Section 40-2-69, shall be entitled to a special and distinctive automobile license plate. Such license plate shall be transferred to another vehicle acquired by such veteran or jointly by such veteran and his or her spouse as provided in Code Section 40-2-80. Such veteran shall be entitled to such plate regardless of whether he or she is suffering from a service connected or nonservice connected disability.
  2. Such veteran must apply for such license plate and, upon compliance with the state motor vehicle laws for licensing of motor vehicles and without payment of the regular license fee for plates as prescribed under Article 7 of this chapter, such veteran shall be issued similar license plates as prescribed in Code Section 40-2-71 for private passenger cars. There shall be no charge for the additional plate issued such veteran under this Code section. There shall be no charge for revalidation decals for such plates.
  3. If a veteran has not been certified as disabled by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, such veteran may submit to the Department of Veterans Service such veteran's discharge papers and a certified statement from a physician, licensed under Chapter 34 of Title 43, certifying that in the opinion of such physician such veteran is disabled to a degree enumerated in Code Section 40-2-69 . If the certificate from the physician indicates the qualifying disabilities which meet the standards of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the commissioner of veterans service shall submit a letter to the state revenue commissioner indicating that the veteran meets the requirements of this Code section and qualifies for a special license plate as provided in this Code section. (Ga. L. 1967, p. 539, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-69 ; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Code 1981, § 40-2-70 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1993, p. 467, § 1; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 10; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 20; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 15; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 3-11; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1074, § 6; Ga. L. 2005, p. 334, § 14-5/HB 501; Ga. L. 2012, p. 155, § 2/HB 732.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 18, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Those parts of Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, an Act amending Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and amending Article 10 of Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles and mobile homes, approved April 19, 1995, in conflict with this Act are repealed."

Ga. L. 2002, p. 1074, § 8, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall not abate any prosecution, punishment, penalty, administrative proceedings or remedies, or civil action related to any violation of law committed prior to the effective date of this Act."

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

40-2-71. Design of disabled veteran plates; restrictions on issuance and transfer.

  1. The commissioner is directed to furnish the license plates provided for in Code Sections 40-2-69 and 40-2-70. Such plates shall be printed in three colors: red, white, and blue. The commissioner is authorized and directed to design the license plate. Each plate shall contain, in bold characters, the name of the state, or abbreviation thereof, the year, the serial number, either the words "Disabled Veteran" or "Disabled Vet," and an image of the International Symbol of Access which is at least one inch in height and is white on a blue background.
  2. Such license plates so issued shall be transferred to another vehicle as provided in Code Section 40-2-80.
  3. No disabled veteran shall be entitled to own or operate more than one vehicle with the free license plates provided by Code Sections 40-2-69 , 40-2-70 , and this Code section. (Ga. L. 1956, p. 336, §§ 2, 3, 5; Ga. L. 1957, p. 69, § 2; Ga. L. 1959, p. 349, § 2; Code 1981, § 40-2-70 ; Ga. L. 1990, p. 1476, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-71 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1996, p. 6, § 40; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 11; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 21; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 16; Ga. L. 2012, p. 155, § 3/HB 732.)

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 18, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Those parts of Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, an Act amending Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and amending Article 10 of Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles and mobile homes, approved April 19, 1995, in conflict with this Act are repealed."

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

40-2-71.1. Redesignated.

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2, effective July 1, 1990, redesignated former Code Section 40-2-71.1 as present Code Section 40-2-73.

40-2-72. Penalty for violation of Code Sections 40-2-69 through 40-2-71.

Any person evading or violating any provision of Code Sections 40-2-69 through 40-2-71 or attempting to secure benefits under those Code sections to which he is not entitled shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than five years.

(Ga. L. 1956, p. 336, § 6; Ga. L. 1957, p. 69, § 6; Code 1981, § 40-2-71 ; Code 1981, § 40-2-72 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR. - Civil rights and liabilities as affected by failure to comply with regulations as to registration of automobile or motorcycle, or licensing of operator, 54 A.L.R. 374.

40-2-73. Special license plates for former prisoners of war.

  1. As used in this Code section, the term "prisoners of war" means those veterans of the armed forces of the United States who were discharged under honorable conditions and who were captured and held prisoner by forces hostile to the United States while serving in the armed forces of the United States in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War.
  2. Owners of motor vehicles who are veterans of the armed forces of the United States, who have been prisoners of war, who were discharged under honorable conditions, and who are residents of this state, upon complying with the motor vehicle laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, shall be issued one distinctive personalized license plate free of charge and, upon the payment of the appropriate taxes and registration fees, shall be issued additional distinctive personalized license plates. Such license plates shall be transferred to another vehicle acquired by such person individually or jointly with his or her spouse as provided in Code Section 40-2-80. Such license plates shall be fastened to the rear of the vehicles.
  3. The spouse of a deceased former prisoner of war shall continue to be eligible to be issued a distinctive personalized license plate as provided in this Code section so long as such person does not remarry.
  4. The commissioner is authorized and directed to design the license plate, establish procedures, and promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this Code section.
  5. The commissioner may begin issuing distinctive personalized license plates to such prisoners of war for the year 1982 and thereafter. (Ga. L. 1981, p. 516, §§ 1-5; Code 1981, § 40-2-71.1 ; Ga. L. 1984, p. 423, § 1; Ga. L. 1985, p. 1278, § 2; Ga. L. 1986, p. 626, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-73 , as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 12; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 22; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1179, § 17.)

Cross references. - Veterans', honorary, and distinctive drivers' licenses, § 40-5-36 .

Editor's notes. - Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 17, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Any local Act enacted pursuant to Code Section 40-2-21 which is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall stand repealed on the effective date of this Act; provided, however, that any local Act enacted in 1996 pursuant to the provisions of Code Section 40-2-21 as enacted by Act. No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, which local Act provides for a four-month staggered registration period for a county, shall not be repealed by the provisions of this Act, but the registration period for such county shall be as provided by subparagraph (a)(1)(B) of Code Section 40-2-21 as enacted by this Act and not as provided in such local Act."

Ga. L. 1996, p. 1118, § 18, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Those parts of Act No. 385, Ga. L. 1995, an Act amending Chapter 2 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and amending Article 10 of Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ad valorem taxation of motor vehicles and mobile homes, approved April 19, 1995, in conflict with this Act are repealed."

Law reviews. - For article commenting on the 1997 amendment of this Code section, see 14 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 215 (1997).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

C.J.S. - 60 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 188, 284, 285.

40-2-74. Special license plates for persons with disabilities.

  1. Any owner of a private passenger motor vehicle who is a resident of Georgia, upon complying with the motor vehicle laws relating to registration, licensing, and payment of fees and upon submitting an affidavit of a practitioner of the healing arts stating that the owner or his or her spouse, child, or ward is a per