On July 1, Georgia’s newest transportation law will take effect. The “Hands-Free” Georgia Act will be enforced for all drivers, making it illegal for you to hold a phone while your vehicle is in-use.
If you are caught breaking the law, there will be consequences. First time offenders are required to pay a $50 fine and will receive one point on their license, while second and third time offenders will pay $100 and $150, and receive two and three points respectively.
What Does “Hands-Free” Mean?
Under the “Hands-Free” Georgia Act, you are banned from physically holding a ‘wireless telecommunication device’ while driving. While this is primarily meant for cell phones, it includes any other device used to communicate or receive data, such as an iPad or laptop.
These devices also cannot be in-use while resting on your body—not for texting, making a phone call, using apps, sending email, watching videos, etc.
This act also bans drivers from using devices while stopped at a stoplight or stop sign, or while sitting at a standstill in traffic. If you have to unbuckle or get up from your seat to reach for a phone or wireless device, you’ll be breaking the law.
What Drivers Can Do
Drivers can still make hands-free phone calls via Bluetooth-ready entertainment systems, smartwatches, or by using earbuds with microphones. You can also utilize your phone’s voice-to-text capabilities and GPS navigators if your phone is located in one of the following spots, and not on your person:
- On a dashboard mount
- In a cup holder
- On the seat
- In the middle console
Essentially, you are allowed to use device features that can be enabled with a single button. You cannot type messages or use apps.
If you’ve been caught breaking one of Georgia’s driving laws and need help from an attorney, call Wadkins & Wallace at (706) 221-9451.