Georgia’s New Distracted Driving Law: What You Need To Know
Recently, the Georgia Senate voted on House Bill 673, which is aimed at cracking down on distracted driving. The new law requires drivers to use hands-free devices with any electronic while driving.
Under the new law, distracted driving fines will increase to $900 dollars, and offenses will incur a penalty on your driver’s license of up to 4 points. With the law going into effect, it’s important to know what the new bill allows, and what it doesn’t.
What to Avoid
For those that like using social media like Instagram and Facebook while in traffic, you will be facing the stricter penalties if you are stopped by a law enforcement officer while using your phone. That includes writing and sending texts or emails.
Drivers have also been known to record video while driving, or even watch movies and TV while behind the wheel. Both now fall under the new distracted driving umbrella.
The “one swipe” provision sets an allowance for a single swipe to answer or hang up from a call, but if reaching for a device requires a driver to shift from the driving position or remove their seatbelt, it will be considered distracted driving.
The most important piece of the new law to keep in mind is that you are now prohibited from physically holding or supporting your device. While you can answer calls, you must use a hands free device.
What Is Allowed
While the new law is much stricter; there are a few caveats for what you’re allowed to do while driving.
Using a hands free device for calls or to dictate a text message is acceptable under the new law. As long as you don’t need to touch your phone and type, you will be in the clear.
Another concern during the bill’s debate was the use of GPS devices, which are a lifeline for many drivers, especially those new to the area. Under the new law, GPS devices are allowed, however, if you are required to hold your phone or type while driving, you can be pulled over for distracted driving.
If you’re pulled over by police for allegedly breaking the hands-free driving law, we can help.
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Our criminal defense attorneys, Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, have a combined experience of more than 30 years representing clients facing criminal charges in Georgia. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-822-0900.