Hands-Free and other new laws are now in effect
The legislative session is over and done, and all that’s left to do is obey the new laws, most of which took effect July 1.
While many of this year’s new laws will have little or minor impact on Georgians’ day-to-day lives, there is one big act that could have a drastic effect on highway safety.
Hands-free Georgia Act
As of July 1, it was illegal to hold a phone while driving.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety’s website has full details and answers to frequently asked questions about the new law, but the gist is:
Don’t hold your phone while driving
For purposes of the law, driving is defined as any time the vehicle is not lawfully parked. So, no checking Facebook while stopped at a red light or watching cat videos while stuck in traffic.
More specifically, if you are using the phone:
As a phone, use voice commands to initiate and end
For texting, use voice-to-text and textto-voice features to compose and listen to text messages.
To listen to music, set the music (or music service) to run before starting your vehicle, then leave it in a mount, console, or other storage area while running.
Ultimately, the aim of the Hands-Free Georgia Act is right there in the name: Your phone should not be in your hands when you’re driving. Never? There is a general exception to the HandsFree Georgia Act for using your phone “while reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, an
Since July 1, anyone driving a vehicle in Georgia must use speakerphones, earpieces, wireless headsets or smart watches to use a cell phone while behind the wheel and with the motor running. (Messenger photo/Mike O’Neal)