Georgia's new penalties for texting while driving will be enforced beginning July 1st, 2018. Bottom Line: Don't!
On May 1, 2018 Governor Nathan Deal signed the "Hands-Free Georgia Act" in Statesboro, GA. View the full act here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20172018/HB/673
The law goes into effect July 1. A first offense under the new law is punishable by a ticket or points on your license.
Ga. House Bill 673 requires drivers to use hands-free technology when using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. But “hands free” isn’t as clear cut as it sounds. The bill prohibits anyone from handling a “wireless telecommunication device” while operating a motor vehicle. Here are the big things to remember:
DON'T: 1) Writing, sending or reading any text-based communication including a
text message, instant message, email or internet data while holding your
device is prohibited while operating a motor vehicle.
2) You cannot record a video while driving.
3) Hands free" doesn't just mean "hands." Your wireless device cannot be
in your lap or in the crook of your neck.
You can still use your radio, CBs and a variety of other in-auto systems.
It is ok to plug " iPod or phone into your stereo, or pipe music through your car from your device via bluetooth or other wireless technology, but it is illegal to hold and operate the device itself while operating the vehicle.
Passengers can watch videos or movies in a moving vehicle, but drivers can't.
You can pay attention to a mapping app or GPS screen, but the screen cannot be in your hands.
Speaking or texting while using hands-free technology is permitted.
Some people are exempt from the hands-free requirement if they are performing official duties: police, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, ambulance drivers, other first responders and utility employees or contractors responding to a utility emergency.
The bill also increases the fine for distracted driving from $150 up to $900 for repeat offenders. It also increases the penalty from 1 point up to 4 points assessed against a driver's license for repeat offenders.