On July 1, the Hands-Free Georgia Act became law. This new law means that motorists can no longer have a cell phone in their hand or have it touch any part of their body while talking and driving a vehicle. It also means that drivers cannot write, read, or send text messages, emails, social media content and other internet data, as well as watch or record videos while on the road. However, voice texts, streaming music without videos, GPS/Navigational, and continuously running dash cams are allowed.
From July 1 to July 31, the Georgia State Patrol, the Motor Carrier Compliance Division and Capitol Police issued 961 citations throughout the state. Motorists received the highest number of citations (588) for holding or supporting a mobile device. The second largest number of citations (244) was for distracted drivers who did not exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on the highways and engaged in any actions which distracted the driver from the safe operation of a vehicle. Last year during the month of July, troopers issued 728 citations for distracted driving.
The third largest number of citations (65) issued was for writing, sending, and/or reading text-based communications, such as text messages, emails, social media content or other internet data.
Other citations violating the Hands-Free Georgia Act included the following:
- Distracted Driving (26)
- Watching videos or movies on wireless devices (15)
- Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators using more than single button devices to initiate or terminate voice communication (5)
- Other violations (18)
If you are convicted of violating the Hands-Free Georgia Act, you will have to pay the following fines and receive points towards your driving records:
- First conviction: $50, one point on a license;
- Second conviction: $100, two points on a license;
- Third and subsequent convictions: $150, three points on a license
The Department of Public Safety will continue to issue citations for violations of the hands-free law, but the primary focus is to educate and help motorists adapt to this new law by issuing warnings through the end of September.
For more information about the Hands-Free Georgia Act, please visit the Heads Up Georgia website sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.