Understanding Georgia’s New Distracted Driving Rules
If you’re used to using your cell phone to check texts or emails or use the Internet while you’re driving, then you need to make some changes to your driving behavior. Drop that phone, put it away and out of sight, because the Hands-Free Georgia Act took effect on July 1, 2018,
Designed to reduce and prevent car wrecks and auto accidents, the new law requires all drivers on Georgia’s roads to utilize hands-free technology whenever they use mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving.
Continue reading for a brief explanation of the new Georgia hands-free law from the personal injury attorneys at Pope & Howard, P.C. in Atlanta, Georgia.
Activities Prohibited Under the New Distracted Driving Law in Georgia
The following activities are not allowed under the new Hands-Free Georgia Act:
Supporting or holding your mobile device, wireless telecommunications, or stand-alone electronic equipment (such as an iPod). Simply put, your hands should be on your wheel and not on any electronic device.
Sending, writing, or reading any types of text-based communication, including instant messages, text messages, Facebook Messenger messages, Snap Chats, e-mails, or any other type of Internet transmissions while holding your phone or device.
Recording a video, watching a movie, or watching any type of video other than data related to the navigation of your car, i.e., your GPS screen or map app.
Even if you’re not actively driving, you must follow all rules and regulations of the new law. You cannot check emails at stoplights, or text your spouse while you’re sitting in traffic not moving. If you’re driving, you are not allowed to use your phone in the ways described above.
Actions Allowed Under Georgia’s Hands-Free Law
Although there are several activities you’re not allowed to engage in, you can do the following under the new Georgia law:
- Use a mapping app or GPS system, such as Google Maps and Waze.
- Use speech-to-text technology as a part of your hands-free system.
- Use and wear a smart watch.
- Utilize an earpiece or Bluetooth audio system to have conversations on your phone.
- CB Radios, radios, CB hybrids, subscription-based emergency communication devices, commercial two-way radios, and other types of similar systems.
Special Circumstances Associated with Georgia’s New Hands-Free Law
There are certain special circumstances where you are allowed to use an electronic device while driving. For instance, if you are reporting a fire, medical emergency, traffic accident, delinquent act, crime, or a hazardous road condition, you can use your electronic device to make a call.
In addition, certain people are exempt from Georgia’s hands-free law if they are working in an official capacity, such as:
- Emergency medical personnel
- Ambulance drivers
- Contractors responding to a utility emergency
- Other first responders
Contact the Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys at Pope & Howard, P.C.
Although the new Hands-Free Georgia Act may seem restrictive, it’s designed to protect you and make Georgia’s roads safer. By reducing the number of distractions in vehicles, you and other drivers will be more likely to keep your undivided attention on the road.
However, if you or a loved one have been injured by another driver’s negligence, you have the right to speak to the experienced car accident attorneys at Pope & Howard, P.C. Led by partners Geoff Pope and Marc Howard, Pope & Howard’s legal team has decades of experience trying car and truck accidents in Georgia.
Let Pope & Howard get you the compensation you deserve. Contact our Atlanta law firm today by calling 404-885-9999 or completing our online contact form.