Hands-Free Law Will Become Effective on July 1st
Friday, June 29th, 2018
House Bill 673, also known as the “Hands-Free Georgia Act,” will become effective on July 1, 2018. The legislation was introduced during the 2018 Legislative Session, passed both the Senate and House and was signed by Governor Nathan Deal on May 2, 2018.
“I think that all Georgians should be aware of these changes and take seriously the repercussions of distracted driving,” said Sen. Larry Walker (R – Perry). “Research has shown that distracted driving deaths and injuries have increased significantly over the past four years. I encourage everyone without a hands-free device or technology to pull over if they have to send a text or make a call, or risk a ticket, or worse–an injury.”
Here are a few of the parameters of the law that citizens should be aware of:
You cannot hold your phone (or other standalone electronic device such as an iPod) or support it on your body (i.e. holding the phone up to your ear with your shoulder) while driving. If you are legally parked, you may still regularly answer calls and do as you please with your phone.
If you are answering or ending a phone call, you cannot push more than one button on your phone to do so.
If you are listening to an internet radio streaming app (Spotify, Pandora, or Apple music radio) you cannot change the song, so go ahead and make a road trip playlist or have a CD ready to go. However, you can still use these apps to listen to music, so long as you are not supporting your phone to do so.
You cannot reach for your phone if it requires you to sit in an improper position or requires you to remove or improperly wear your seat belt.
If you have a Bluetooth capable car, you can use the Bluetooth technology to take calls.
You can use your phone as normal while driving if you are making a 9-1-1 call.
As a reminder, texting while driving is illegal in Georgia and has been since 2010.
Bluetooth and hands-free mounts can be purchased at retailers and online. These hands-free devices will allow you to legally make and answer calls, and some will allow you to verbally send text messages.
The law will become effective on July 1, 2018, and there is no mandatory “grace period” associated with the law. However, individual law enforcement agencies may choose, at their discretion, to give warnings instead of tickets.