What is the New Georgia Distracted Driving Law?


Did you know that Georgia has a new Distracted Driving Law? The Georgia Legislature recently passed House Bill 673, also known as the new Georgia Distracted Driving Law, which prohibits motorists from handling their cell phones or any electronic devices that may distract them while driving.

This does not necessarily mean that motorists cannot use their cell phones or other electronic devices while operating their vehicle, but it does require drivers to utilize hands-free technology.

Under the new Georgia Distracted Driving Law drivers are now prohibited from doing the following things, although this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Holding or supporting, with any part of their body, a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device (for example, an iPod);
  • Writing, sending or reading any text-based communication, including text messages, IM’s, e-mails, or internet data while holding your device; and
  • Watching a video or movie other than looking at a map application or a GPS screen.

The new Bill also prohibits “using more than a single touch or swipe of a finger” to initiate or terminate wireless communication. Additionally, reaching for electronic devices “in such a manner that requires the driver to maneuver in such a way that they are no longer in a seated driving position properly restrained by a safety belt” is also now prohibited.

Drivers are, however, still allowed to:

  • Speak or text while using hands-free technology;
  • Use a Map application or GPS system;
  • Wear and use a smart watch;
  • Use an earpiece to talk on the phone;
  • Handle an electronic device while driving if you are: reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire or crime;
  • Handle an electronic device if you are lawfully parked off or beside a road in an area open to parking; or
  • Handle an electronic device if you are performing official duties as a police officer, firefighter, emergency medical personnel, etc.

There is a provision in the Bill that allows first-time offenders to be found not guilty if they come to Court with a hands-free device or a receipt for a hands-free device purchased after the driver received the citation. Under this provision, anyone who shows the court proof of their new hands-free device must swear to the Court that they have not previously used this provision to avoid a conviction.

Call the Don Turner Legal Team today at (770) 594-1777 if you or someone you know has any questions or concerns regarding Georgia’s new Distracted Driving Law.

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