On July 1, law enforcement across Georgia began enforcing the new Hands-Free Georgia Act. Drivers in our state are no longer allowed to hold cellphones or other electronic devices while driving.
The Governor's Office on Highway Safety believes the biggest benefit of the law is that officers can easily see if someone is holding their phone or not. The agency has said that 13 of the 15 states that use similar laws, have seen at least a 16 percent decrease in traffic deaths.
The following is a closer look at the new hands-free law.
All motorists may still use their phones while driving, but motorists can no longer hold or support their phones and drive. That means you cannot cradle your phone or any electronic wireless device while driving a moving vehicle. Making emergency phone calls IS an exception.
Drivers cannot use more than one button to answer a call or use a mobile phone.
Motorists cannot reach for a mobile phone if that means having to undo a seat belt or stand up.
Drivers may use GPS, voice-to-text features, and make and receive phone calls hands-free. Single-ear headphones and Bluetooth pieces are acceptable aids for doing this. Using an earbud with a microphone on it (like the ones that comes with most phones) is a good workaround, if you do not have a Bluetooth-capable car or device.
In-car navigation, communication and entertainment systems are allowed.
Along with already-banned texting, drivers can no longer answer emails or other queries, watch or record videos from behind the wheel.
As long as you are legally parked, you are allowed to do these things. Legally parked does NOT mean at a stoplight or in gridlocked traffic.
First time offenders get one point on their license and a $50 fine. The second offense is two points and $100 and the third is three points and $150.
Law enforcement, emergency and utility workers are still allowed to hold their phones.