Beginning July 1st, Georgians will have to put down their phones while driving. That’s according to HB 673, the new Hands-free Distracted Driving Bill, which Governor Nathan Deal signed into law earlier this month.
The Hands-free Distracted Driving Bill requires Georgians to use hands-free technology while using their cell phones and other electronic devices (ex: iPod) while driving. More specifically, drivers are prohibited by law from:
- holding or supporting a phone or electronic device while driving,
- using a hand-held phone or electronic device to write, send, or read any text-based communication (ex: text message, instant message, emails) while driving,
- watching a video or movie on your hand-held phone or electronic device while driving, or
- recording a video on your hand-held phone or electronic device while driving.
Under the Hands-free Distracted Driving Bill, Georgia drivers are still permitted to talk on the phone or text using hands-free technology. Drivers can use a GPS system, wear/use a smartwatch, or use an earpiece to talk on the phone while driving. They can also use their phones in an emergency situation, such as reporting a traffic accident or medical emergency.
Governor Deal signed the bill in Statesboro, which was the site of a 2015 fatal distracted driving crash involving five Georgia Southern University nursing students. The Governor said the goal of the Hands-free Distracted Driving Bill is to prevent future tragedies related to distracted driving: “This is our effort to make sure that these tragedies are not going to occur needlessly again.”
The Governor’s office says that it is customary for state agencies to issue warnings and educate the public about new laws and regulations, but in this case, there will be no 90-day grace period for the Hands-free Distracted Driving Bill. State officials will begin enforcing the new law on July 1st. Fines begin at $50 and one point on the driver’s record.
For more information on HB 673, the Hands-free Distracted Driving Bill, click here. If you have been hurt in a collision and need help with your personal injury case, call Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group at (404) 436-1529.