Be Safe: New-Hands Free Law
The new “Hands-Free Law” began on July 1st (Sunday) and will arguably impact every single motorist in the state. I am proud to support this bill, and I am confident it will have an immediate impact on making our roadways safer by decreasing distracted driving. Statistics show that in the states that have passed hands-free driving laws, there was a 16% decrease in traffic fatalities on their roadways over the following two years. That would mean nearly 500 less roadway fatalities in Georgia over the next 2 years alone.
I hope you will read and share the information below to help make Georgia roadways safer.
HANDS-FREE LAW RESTRICTIONS
- A driver cannot have a phone in their hand or use any part of their body to support their phone. Drivers can only use their phones to make or receive phone calls by using speakerphone, earpiece, wireless headphone, phone connected to vehicle or an electronic watch. GPS navigation devices are allowed.
- Headsets and earpieces can only be worn for communication purposes and not for listening to music or other entertainment.
- A driver may not send or read any text-based communication unless using voice-based communication that automatically converts message to a written text or is being used for navigation or GPS.
- A driver may not write, send or read any text messages, e-mails, social media or internet data content.
- A driver may not watch a video unless it is for navigation.
- A driver may not record a video (continuously running dash cams are exempt).
- Music streaming apps can be used provided the driver activates and programs them when they are parked. Drivers cannot touch their phones to do anything to their music apps when they are on the road. Music streaming apps that include video also are not allowed since drivers cannot watch videos when on the road. Drivers can listen to and program music streaming apps that are connected to and controlled through their vehicle’s radio.
EXEMPTIONS TO THE HANDS FREE LAW
- Reporting a traffic crash, medical emergency, fire, criminal activity or hazardous road conditions.
- An employee or contractor of an utility service provider acting within the scope of their employment while responding to an utility emergency.
- A first responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS) during the performance of their official duties.
- When in a lawfully parked vehicle—this DOES NOT include vehicles stopped for traffic signals and stop signs on the public roadway.
- First Conviction: $50 fine and 1 point on your license
- Second Conviction: $100 fine and 2 points on your license
- Third and Each Subsequent Conviction: $150 fine and 3 points on your license
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any additional questions on the hands-free law. You can also visit the link below for more in-depth information on the background of the legislation and other aspects of the new law.