Gov. Deal signs bill making Georgia Hands-Free, drivers react

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

(WRDW/WAGT) -- Starting July 1st, people across the state of Georgia will no longer be able to hold their phone while driving.

Sonny Reece is the first to admit he catches himself texting while on the roadways.

Under the Hands Free Georgia Act, signed by Governor Deal Wednesday, you will have to wait until you stop your car to touch that phone.

‘If your cellphone is by your face, you can be pulled over,” said Sergeant Kimberly Lee with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

The Richmond County's Sheriff's Office says it won't change how they patrol, but it will change what they're able to pull drivers over for.

Under the bill, it's a crime to hold your phone at all, whether it’s to text, make a phone call, or to use it in any way that may be distracting

“If the phone is near your face and you're doing anything other picking up a telephone call or disconnecting a telephone call or using GPS 1011 you can get stopped and cited for that.”

Even using your phone while sitting at a traffic light could lead to a citation.

Bluetooth will be allowed.



STATESBORO, Ga (WRDW/WAGT) -- Beginning July 1 drivers will no longer be allowed to hold or support a phone with their body.

Though this bill is new and law enforcement will be working to educate all motorists in the first few months, drivers should not expect to automatically receive a warning if they are stopped from violating the Hands-Free law.

Governor Deal signed House Bill 673 into law. Georgia is now the 16th state in the nation to enact a law banning drivers from having a cell phone in hand.

The bill was signed Wednesday afternoon. Governor Deal stated that "It's second nature to pick up our phones when we are behind the wheel but if you have it in your hand when driving after July 1, you run the risk of getting a ticket.

What is prohibited:
Texting
Sending and receiving e-mails
Posting on social media
Browsing the internet

However, drivers can text if they are using technology that converts voice to text messages. In addition, watching and recording videos are not allowed except for video that is used for navigational purposes and continuously running dash cams.

It is also illegal for drivers to have a phone in their hand when they are stopped for a traffic signal or stop sign.

It is legal to make a hand-held phone call or send a text email to social media post when the vehicle is lawfully parked.

Drivers will be allowed to have a phone in their hand to make an emergency call to report a traffic crash, criminal activity, fire, medical emergency or hazardous road conditions.

Who is exempt under the law:
Law enforcement officers
Fire and EMS personnel and employees
Contractors of utility companies.
All are exempt under the law, providing the call is related to their official duties or while responding to a utility emergency.

For more information:

 HEADS UP GEORGIA