As of July 1, 2018, drivers in Georgia will have to use a hands-free electronic device if they want to use it while behind the wheel. Governor Nathan Deal signed the legislation and made it law on May 1.
The new law means it is illegal for drivers to hold a cell phone in their hand while they are driving. Also, drivers may not read or text while they are driving. Further, they cannot record/broadcast videos while they are driving. However, the law does allow drivers to touch the phone to make a call, answer or hang up. It also allows them to use a GSP navigator on a cell phone.
HB 673 was passed because distracted driving continues to be a huge problem in Georgia and across the country, according to Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Data suggests that 3.5% of Georgia drivers were distracted when they had a fatal car accident in 2015.
Tips For Safe Driving
Now that it will be soon be against the law to drive with a handheld mobile device in Georgia in most situations, what can Georgians do to drive more safely with an electronic device? Below are some pointers to review.
#1 Use a Bluetooth-Enabled Device
Most automakers in 2018 offer support for Bluetooth for their vehicle’s infotainment. It is easy to pair a cell phone with your car through the settings/option menu on many modern vehicles. Once it has been done, you should have hands-free connectivity in your car. When you make or accept a phone call, you will use the microphone and speakers in the car. You will not need to touch your cell phone.
#2 Set the Phone To Auto-Answer
Before you leave on your trip, set the cell phone to auto-answer. If a call comes when you are driving, it will just answer automatically. There is no need to take your hands off the wheel.
#3 Secure Phone on Dashboard If Using GPS
People often need to glance at their cell when getting driving directions, but you should have yours secured to the dashboard, windshield or air vent.
#4 Put Phone Away If You Do Not Need It
People are on their phones all the time these days. The temptation to pick it up while behind the wheel is strong. Those who are hooked on their cell phones could be better off stowing the phone where it cannot be reached.
#5 In An Accident on Your Cell? The Police Can Find Out.
These days, Georgia police will check your cell phone records after a car accident to see if you were using a cell phone. If you were, it is possible you could face serious charges. You also could be held liable in civil court in a personal injury lawsuit, if someone was hurt because of your negligence.