What You Need to Know About the Hands-Free Law in Georgia
Distracted driving is a known cause of motor accidents all across the country, and the use of a phone while driving is one of the major reasons behind distracted driving accidents.
In July of 2018, Georgia enacted a “hands-free law” that prohibits drivers from using a phone when they’re on the road. Here’s what you need to know about this law.
Using a Phone While On the Road
It may surprise you, but you don’t have to be driving while using a phone to be fined under the hands-free law. In addition to prohibiting the use of a phone while driving, the law also prohibits drivers from using a phone if they’re stopped on the road or at a stop sign.
You also don’t need to be holding the phone to be fined under the law. The law also prohibits the use of a phone while driving if the phone is touching any part of your body.
What About Hands-Free Devices?
Hands-free devices can be useful if you need to take a call while you’re on the road, but there are certain things about using your hands-free device you need to be aware of.
If your phone has hands-free technology, you can talk on the phone using this technology (as long as the phone isn’t touching any part of your body), but you cannot use the phone to text (either writing, reading, or sending) unless you’re using voice-to-text. You also can’t use your phone to go on social media.
You can also stream music through your phone, but you can’t touch your phone to bring up or control your streaming music app. The state advises drivers to start up their streaming music apps before they start driving. And you can also listen to streaming music through your car’s radio.
What About Videos?
You can’t watch videos while you’re driving, but GPS and navigation systems are allowed. You also aren’t permitted to record video while you’re driving, either with your phone or with another device, other than a continuously running dash cam, which is allowed.
What Are the Fines?
Breaking the hands-free law comes with consequences. If it’s your first time, you’ll be fined $50.00 and have a point taken off your driver’s license. As a first-time offender, you can also ask for the charge to be dropped if you show the court you now have a phone that lets you talk hands-free.
For a second conviction, the fine doubles to $100, and two points are taken off. Your third time or more will cost you $150 and three points.
However, according to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, “The fines for a 2nd or 3rd offense only apply when the date of a 2nd or 3rd conviction takes place within 24 months of the date of the first conviction.”
Victim of Distracted Driving? Hudson Injury Firm Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured because another driver drove while distracted by their phone, the personal injury lawyers at Hudson Injury Firm can be of assistance. Contact them today to schedule a consultation.