Georgia is going hands-free beginning July 1, as the state looks to crack down more and more on distracted driving. The new distracted driving laws comes about eight years after a law was created to stop texting and using mobile devices while driving. The law is called the Hands-Free Georgia Act.
Distracted Driving Law
Drivers will not even be able to hold a phone, GPS, tablet or any electronic device while behind the wheel. Also, drivers are not allowed to support one on their shoulder or in their lap either. Robert Hydrick, Communications Manager for the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, said, “Up until now, police were stopping distracted drivers, but if a person were to say they were making a phone call, that would be legal. This new law is going to be a big change, a major behavioral adjustment, and people should start getting into the habit of thinking hands-free now.”
Helping to decrease distractions
The point of this new law against distracted driving is to help decrease those dangerous distractions on drivers. Columbus Police Department Motor Squad Sargent Chris Anderson said, “To be honest with you, you don’t even have to look for a distracted driver anymore. You can just ride down the road and see it all day long. I’ve seen people texting and almost hitting pedestrians at stop lights, I’ve seen people driving with their knees while holding a tablet over the steering wheel reading something. I have actually seen someone riding down the road with a full newspaper open, over the top of their steering wheel, reading the newspaper as they’re driving down the roadway.”
Besides that, Anderson also stated the new law makes it easier on the police officers trying to enforce the old law. He said, “This new law and this change makes it clear for us as police how we can enforce the law. If we even see a device in your hand, you are in violation of the new law, and you will get a citation for that.”
First Time Perks
You may not be happy to get the citation, but you can lower the costs on your first offense. There will be some work to do that, but Hydrick said, “You can go to the court and show the court that you have purchased a device, such as a headset, a Bluetooth device, something that allows you to attach your phone to your dash, anything that can prove you’ve gone hands free. If you present that evidence to the court and the court accepts that evidence, the charge will be dropped.”
However, you can not do this every time you get a distracted driving citation. You may use this allowance one time. You also have to sign an affidavit stating you have never used the loophole before and won’t use it again.