Use of mu­sic stream­ing apps and grace pe­riod un­der Hands-Free Ge­or­gia Act clar­i­fied

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

AT­LANTA – State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John Car­son ( R- Ma­ri­etta) re­cently clar­i­fied that Ge­or­gia driv­ers may uti­lize mu­sic stream­ing ap­pli­ca­tions and that there will not be a set en­force­ment grace pe­riod af­ter House Bill 673, the Hand­sFree Ge­or­gia Act, takes effect on July 1, 2018. Rep. Car­son spon­sored HB 673 dur­ing the 2018 leg­isla­tive ses­sion of the Ge­or­gia Gen­eral As­sem­bly, and Gover­nor Nathan Deal re­cently signed this mea­sure into law to cre­ate a hand­sfree driv­ing law in Ge­or­gia.

“Ac­cord­ing to re­cent data, we be­lieve the pub­lic aware­ness of this new law is al­ready sav­ing lives,” said Rep. Car­son. “We en­cour­age all Ge­or­gians to im­ple­ment the best prac­tices stated in the Hands- Free Ge­or­gia Act prior to July 1, 2018, for the safety of all commuters on Ge­or­gia’s road­ways.”

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent press re­lease from the Gover­nor’s Of­fice of High­way Safety, driv­ers can lis­ten to mu­sic stream­ing apps on their phone while driv­ing un­der the new law, but they can­not ac­ti­vate their apps or change mu­sic through their phone while driv­ing. Mu­sic stream­ing apps that are pro­grammed and con­trolled through the ve­hi­cle’s ra­dio sys­tem are al­lowed. How­ever, mu­sic stream­ing apps that have video are not al­lowed since the law specif­i­cally pro­hibits driv­ers from watch­ing videos.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the Gover­nor’s Of­fice of High­way Safety, the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safety and lo­cal law en­force­ment of­fi­cers re­cently re­minded Ge­or­gia driv­ers that the law does not con­tain a 90- day grace pe­riod for en­force­ment. Many of­fi­cers will be is­su­ing warn­ings for vi­o­la­tions in the first months of the law as part of the ed­u­ca­tion ef­fort, but ci­ta­tions can and will be is­sued start­ing July 1 where law en­force­ment of­fi­cers be­lieve they are war­ranted, es­pe­cially those vi­o­la­tions that in­volve traf­fic crashes.

This new hands- free driv­ing law will pro­hibit driv­ers from hold­ing or sup­port­ing a wire­less telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion de­vice or a stand- alone elec­tronic de­vice while op­er­at­ing a ve­hi­cle. Ad­di­tion­ally, this mea­sure will main­tain the ban on tex­ting, email­ing and in­ter­net brows­ing while driv­ing, but will also pro­hibit watch­ing or record­ing videos while driv­ing. GPS nav­i­ga­tion and voice- to- text fea­tures will still be per­mit­ted.

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