As of July 1, 2018, a new distracted driving law known as the Hands-Free Georgia Act has been in place. You may have been breaking this law for quite a while now without even knowing it.
So read on to make sure you understand how to avoid the consequences of getting caught, which happen to be a $50 fine and 1 point on driver’s license for the first offense, a $100 fine and 2 points for the second offense, and a $150 fine and 3 points for the third offense.
Here’s what you CAN’T do while driving:
- Physically hold your phone, iPod, iPad, Kindle, etc. with any part of your body
- Read, write, or send texts, emails, instant messages, or any other form of communication unless you use voice to text technology
- Record or watch a video on a smartphone or electronic device (except for in-car devices designed for this purpose, such as dash cams)
- Browse the internet or use non-navigational apps on your phone or electronic device
Here’s what you CAN do while driving:
- Make phone calls using an earpiece, headphones, smart watch, or any other hands-free system
- Use GPS navigation on your phone
- Message someone using voice to text technology
- Touch your phone to dial, receive, or end a call—as long as you are not supporting or holding the phone
There are exceptions to this rule.
- You can use your phone as needed to report a medical emergency, fire, traffic accident, crime (actual or potential), or hazardous road conditions.
- Utility service providers, firefighters, police, EMTs, and other people who need to use these devices while responding to emergencies or in the course of their duties are exempt from these rules.
- You are also free to make calls or use your phone or electronic devices however you want if your vehicle is lawfully parked.
Although it’s understandable that many people regard this law as a hassle, considering how connected we are to our phones, it’s actually a lifesaver—you are 6 times more likely to cause an accident while driving and texting than you are while driving drunk.
If you ever do get caught breaking the Hands Free Georgia Act, know that you will not be found guilty if it is your first offense and you show up in court with a device or proof of purchase of a device that will allow you to be hands-free in the future.
Or avoid breaking the law altogether and invest now in hands-free technology that will protect your wallet, your driver’s license, and your life.
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