House Bill 673 also known as the “Hands Free Law” will require all drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel – without any cell phone in play. Here are the Top 10 points you need to follow:
- Drivers cannot have a phone in their hand or use any part of their body to support their phone
- Headsets and earpieces can only be worn for communication purposes
- A driver may not send or read any text-based communication unless using voice-based communication that automatically converts message to a written text or is being used for navigation or GPS
- Drivers may not write/send/read any text messages, e-mails, social media or internet data content
- Drivers may not watch (or record) a video …unless it is for navigation
- Drivers cannot touch their phones to do anything to their music apps when driving
EXCEPTIONS TO THE LAW:
- You can use your phone to report a traffic crash, medical emergency, fire, criminal activity or hazardous road conditions.
2. An utility company employee or contractor acting within the scope of their job and responding to a utility emergency.
3. A first responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS) during their performing their official duties.
4. When in a lawfully-parked vehicle. This DOES NOT include cars/trucks stopped at traffic lights or stop signs.
COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATORS
Can only use one button to begin or end a phone call
SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS
- CANNOT use a wireless device or 2-way radio while loading or unloading passengers.
2. CAN use a cell phone while the bus is in motion as a two-way radio to allow live communications between the driver and school and public safety officials
Citations can and will be issued starting July 1 for any violation of the Hands-Free Law. There is NO 90-day grace period – so know you can get a fine ($50 for first; $100 for second; $150 for third) with points applied to your license.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Why is this law needed in Georgia?
A: The 15 states that have passed hands-free driving laws saw a 16% decrease in traffic fatalities in the first 2 years after the law passed.
Q: Could I still talk on my phone while driving?
A: Yes, as long as it is done hands-free.
Q: Could I touch my cellphone to dial a number or receive or end a call?
A: Yes. Sign your teen up for driver training this July at Safe America.
Call (770)-973-7233 or visit safeamericadrivers.org website.
Q: Would I be required to purchase a hands-free accessory, such as a mount or bracket?
Q: My car doesn’t have Bluetooth technology/capability. How can I comply with the law?
A: Many online retailers offer a Bluetooth adapter for vehicles without Bluetooth or similar technology built into the vehicle.
Q: Can I listen to online radio apps while driving?
A: Drivers cannot touch their phone to activate/program a radio app while on the road
Q: Could I listen to music stored on my mobile phone, thus not requiring an internet connection?
A: Yes, as long as the driver is not holding or supporting the phone.
Q: Could I talk to someone via video telephony apps, such as FaceTime or Skype, if doing so “hands-free?”
Safe America Salutes GOHS Director Harris Blackwood Ford and Jim Ellis Automotive Group for theirs leadership in enacting ‘hands free’ legislation.
Have other questions? Send them to https://www.gahighwaysafety.org/contact/ or call the Safe America Foundation at (770)-973-SAFE