What Is Georgia’s Hands-Free Law?
These days, almost every driver on the road has a mobile device in their vehicle. Many drivers unfortunately pick-up their mobile devices while they’re driving. For instance, some drivers text while driving. Other drivers send and receive e-mails. Incredibly, some drivers even watch videos on their mobile devices while they’re driving. Those dangerous driving behaviors lead to distracted driving accidents which cause serious injuries.
In 2018, the Georgia state legislature passed the Georgia Hands-Free Law . That law addresses the concerning rise of distracted driving accidents among younger drivers.
Key provisions of Georgia’s Hands-Free Law
- Drivers cannot touch their mobile devices while they drive. So, if a driver must make a call, they must use a hands-free device, such as a Bluetooth headset.
- Drivers cannot write, read or send text messages, e-mails, social media content, or other internet data while they drive. However, a driver can use a hands-free device with voice-to-text capabilities to send electronic communications.
- Drivers cannot watch videos while they are on the road. But, they can check navigational GPS directions on their devices so long as they don’t pick up the device. Thus, drivers can place the mobile device in the vehicle’s center console or cup holder. However, drivers should mount the mobile device on the dashboard or windshield. That way, there is less potential for the driver’s eyes to leave the roadway.
- Drivers cannot use their mobile devices to record video while they’re driving. However, it is permissible for a driver to set-up a continuously running dash camera.
- Drivers may stream music from their mobile devices via bluetooth. However, drivers may not touch their mobile devices while the music streams. If a driver wants to change the song track, the driver must use a hands-free Bluetooth device to do so. However, the streaming music app cannot display a video while the song plays.
Are There Any Exceptions To Georgia’s Hands-Free Law?
There are a few exceptions to Georgia’s Hands-Free Law that you should keep in mind.
For instance, it is permissible for drivers to pick up their mobile devices to report a traffic crash, medical emergency, fire, criminal activity, or hazardous road conditions. First responders (police, fire, EMS) may also use their mobile devices to respond to an emergency.
Also, drivers may pick-up their mobile devices when they’re parked. However, that exception doesn’t apply if a vehicle is temporarily stopped at a traffic light or stop sign.
Does Georgia’s Hands-Free Law Prohibit The Use Of CB Radios?
No. Georgia’s Hands-Free Law permits drivers to use citizen’s band (CB) radios. In fact, drivers may use any commercial two-way radio communication device or its functional equivalent. Also, it is still permissible for drivers to use the radio so long as it does not distract the driver.
What Are The Penalties For Violating Georgia’s Hands-Free Law?
The fines for violating Georgia’s Hands-Free Law are assessed as follows:
- $50 and 1 point accessed against the driver’s license for a first-time offense.
- $100 and 2 points accessed against the driver’s license for a second-time offense.
- $150 and 3 points accessed against the driver’s license for a third-time offense.
It’s important to keep in mind that those are the minimum fees for each violation. The violator will also have to pay court costs and other administrative fees that the local municipality assesses. Thus, even a first-time violation could end up costing several hundred dollars.
That said, if it’s a driver’s first-time offense, the driver is able to have the charge dropped if they provide proof to the court that they have acquired a hands-free device that communicates with their mobile device. That way there is a lower likelihood that the driver will violate Georgia’s Hands-Free Law in the future.
How Can I Use Georgia’s Hands-Free Law To Help My Auto Accident Case?
Mobile device distraction causes many car accidents. If you believe that the at-fault driver was using a mobile device, you should notify the police officer.
You still have options if the police officer doesn’t cite the driver for violating Georgia’s Hands-Free Law . An attorney can help you get a copy of the at fault driver’s mobile device records. Those records may demonstrate whether the driver was using their mobile device at the time of the collision.
Some commercial vehicles have inward-facing cameras. Inward-facing cameras can demonstrate whether the driver took their eyes off of the road right before the crash. For instance, Amazon delivery vehicles will soon be equipped with inward facing video cameras that record the vehicle interior.
If a delivery vehicle injured you, you should hire a lawyer immediately. Your lawyer can contact the delivery vehicle carrier and instruct them to preserve the video footage. That way, you can use the video to resolve your case. If the delivery vehicle carrier ignored your lawyer’s request to preserve the video footage, the court might sanction the carrier. For instance, the court could assess monetary fines or strike the carrier’s pleadings.
Contact Graham Scofield Injury Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact Graham Scofield Injury Lawyers as soon as possible. Our distracted driving accident lawyers will help you obtain justice. Call us at (404) 939-9470 to ensure your rights are protected.