Georgia's New Hands Free Law

Beginning July 1 You Must Drive Hands Free in Georgia

 

Georgia’s new “Hands Free Law” will take effect July 1, 2018.  This means that you must have your hands free while driving any vehicle in the state. Georgia is the 16th state in the U.S. to enact a hands free driving law.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has noted that the state has seen significant increases in vehicle traffic crashes, fatalities and bodily injury.  Most of these crashes have been rear end crashes, single car crashes and crashes by driver’s ages 15-25 years old.  State and local law enforcement agencies have said that they believe it is due to driver inattention.  Fifteen states that have passed a hands free law have seen a 16% decrease in traffic fatalities in the first 2 years since the law was enacted.

Provisions in the Law (House Bill 673) -

  • You can only use your phone to make or receive calls by using your speaker phone, earpiece or wireless headphone, or if the phone is connected to you vehicle or electronic watch
  • Headsets and earpieces are to be worn for communication purposes only;  they cannot be worn to listen to music or other entertainment
  • Text based communication, except for voice-based communication that automatically converts to a written text or is being used for navigational reasons or GPS, is prohibited
  • Social media content, emails or any other internet content cannot be accessed, sent or read while driving
  • Only videos for navigational purposes can be viewed or recorded (continuously running dash cam videos are an exception) while driving

One of the exceptions to this law is if the driver is making an emergency call.  Also, as long as a driver is legally parked (not stopped at a stoplight, stop sign or in gridlock traffic) using their phone is allowed.

Penalties for violations of the new law start at $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and three or more violations will result in a $150 fine.  First time offenders can have their fine waived by purchasing a Bluetooth device and providing proof of purchase.

Sources

headsupgeorgia.com

11alive.com

wsbtv.com

dps.georgia.gov

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