Hands-free law to go in effect Sunday
by Halei Lamb | June 27, 2018 3:47 pm
At 12 a.m. July 1, Georgia’s new hands-free driving law will go into effect. As its name implies, this law will prohibit motorists from holding or cradling electronic devices such as cell phones or other wireless devices while driving.
Sending text messages, watching videos, recording while behind the wheel, answering emails, and other actions involving the hands-on use of electronic devices will be officially banned come Sunday. Georgians cannot use more than one button to answer or use a mobile phone, and they cannot reach for one if doing so requires standing up or undoing a seat belt.
The same prohibitions apply so long as drivers are not legally parked; being “legally parked” does not mean at a stoplight or in gridlocked traffic.
As for what is allowed, drivers are permitted to use GPS, voice-to-text features, and can make and receive phone calls hands-free. Single-ear headphones and Bluetooth pieces are acceptable aids. Should drivers not have bluetooth-equipped vehicles, using an earbud with a microphone is a good workaround. The bill also still allows for use of in-car navigation, communication, and entertainment systems.
Law enforcement, emergency personnel, and utility workers will still be allowed to use their phones. The lone exemption for regular motorists in Georgia will be emergency phone calls.
If caught using an electronic device while operating a vehicle, drivers could receive points on their license and fines of $50 to $150 dollars.