Mutual Matters

Georgia Bans Handheld Devices While Driving

Posted by Todd Van Dyke on Jun 7, 2018 11:56:00 AM

By Todd Van Dyke and Mary Claire Smith


Georgia has become one of 16 states in the country that bans the use of handheld devices while driving. Governor Nathan Deal signed “Hands-Free Georgia Act” (House Bill 673) into law on May 2, 2018. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2018.

The act makes it illegal for drivers to “physically hold or support, with any part of his or her body,” a wireless telecommunications device. It will be illegal for drivers to make and receive telephone calls, send and receive text messages or emails, post on social media, or browse the internet with a handheld device while driving (including while stopped at a traffic light). Drivers must use an earpiece or wireless device, including a smartphone watch, for making calls, sending or receiving texts, or for navigational purposes.

Drivers will be allowed to hold a phone only while driving in limited circumstances, including to make calls to report a traffic accident, criminal activity, medical emergency, or hazardous condition.

Beginning on July 1, 2018, law enforcement officers will issue citations to drivers observed using handheld devices. Penalties for violating the statute can include fines up to $150. In enacting the statute, the Georgia Legislature aims to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents and fatalities caused by distracted driving.

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