- As of 2016 in Georgia, there were 15.55 serious injuries due to car accidents for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
- In 2016, more than 1,500 people were killed in Georgia as the result of traffic collisions. The top causes were speed, alcohol and distracted driving.
Georgia’s governor signed The Hands-Free Act into law, and it is now in effect. As of July 1, the way that you may interact with your mobile device in your vehicle has changed. If you are driving, you are expected to stay focused on the task at hand. The law was passed in an attempt to curb the problem of distracted driving in the state.
As Atlanta car accident attorneys, we understand the way distracted driving has impacted our state. We have put together this brief guide to help you understand the new law. Knowing what you can and cannot do with your mobile device will not only keep you on the right side of the law, but can help to prevent an accident.
Read below to discover what the new law may mean for you.
What You Cannot Do
There are several things that you are not permitted to do if you are driving when it comes to your mobile device. These include:
- Holding your mobile device in your hand.
- Supporting your mobile device with any body part. For example, you cannot cradle your phone between your shoulder and ear just to say you aren’t holding it.
- Compose, read or send any type of text message, email, direct message or any other Internet data.
- Watch a movie or other video.
- Record a video and/or broadcast one.
- Reach around in your car to grab your mobile device in such a way that you leave your seat or have to unbuckle your seatbelt.
What’s Still Permissible
Drivers aren’t completely banned from using their mobile devices in the vehicle. You can still:
- Talk using earpieces, your smart watch or headphones.
- Use your vehicle’s bluetooth system to communicate.
- Use voice recognition to compose, read or send text messages and other communications.
- Use your GPS system or app of choice.
- Use a CB radio or other similar device.
- Tap a button to activate voice recognition software.
The new law does not pertain to contractors or employees responding to a utility emergency. Police, firefighters and medical personnel (responding to an emergency) are also exempt.
Penalties for Violating Georgia’s Hands-Free Law
Penalties for violations of the law build upon one another if subsequent offenses are committed within two years:
- A first violation is a $50 fine and a point.
- A second violation is a fine up to $100 and two points.
- A third violation is a fine up to $150 and three points.
- If you are convicted of more than three violations, your license may be suspended.
Speak to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you are involved in an accident with a distracted driver, you need an Atlanta car accident attorney. Reach out to our office to schedule your case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and help you move forward in the way you choose. Call today and get the help you deserve.