If you are one of those Georgians who likes to text, talk and drive while on a cell phone, you will want to know about the new hands-free law that went into effect in the state in May 2018. Signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal, it is now illegal to hold your phone while driving in Georgia. Reading from a phone or using it to record video is also illegal.
Drivers caught breaking the new law – even as much as tapping a Play button on a cell phone playlist when the car is in motion – will face a fine of $50. This doubles to $100 for the second offense.
According to the governor’s office, the aim of the new hands-free law in Georgia is to reduce the number of driving deaths in the state due to talking, texting, and driving.
‘No one wants to try to keep people from listening to music,’ said Harris Blackwood, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director. He noted that the intent of the new law is to prevent people from engaging in dangerous driving behavior, such as making videos of themselves while driving at high speed or taking selfies while driving, which can lead to distracted driving injuries.
Strict New Law to Be Enforced
The law states that drivers may no longer have a phone touching any part of their body while talking through a portable electronic device. This means that reading emails, social media posts and text messages is not allowed. It also is illegal to write any of this content while the vehicle is in motion. Recording videos while the car is moving – something that is often seen on social media – is against the law. But if you have a dash cam that is fixed to the dashboard, this is ok.
The Georgia law also has other exceptions noted, such as phones with in-car or Bluetooth technology. Playing a Spotify playlist through the car’s stereo when moving is fine, according to the public safety office.
Watching or reading anything on your cell phone while driving is banned, but exceptions were made for the use of navigational services such as Google Maps. There are other exceptions for using cell phones to report crimes, traffic accidents and emergencies.
The new Georgia law comes after texting and driving was banned in 2010. Critics charged this law could not be enforced because it was still legal to dial calls while driving.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution stated recently that the new ban is the biggest change to traffic laws in the state in decades.
If You Have Been Hurt in a Texting-and-Driving Accident, Call Us Today
Texting and driving is dangerous behavior that causes thousands of deaths and injuries every year; it is estimated that 26% of all auto accidents in 2014 involved the use of a cell phone. If you or a loved one was hurt by a driver who was texting or was otherwise distracted, you may be eligible for an Auto accident lawsuit. In Georgia, please contact the Mann Law Firm for a free consultation today.