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The original item was published from 6/29/2018 4:09:44 PM to 7/21/2018 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: June 29, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Hands-Free Law Starts July 1


The State’s new Hands-Free Georgia Act takes effect on July 1, 2018. The new law prohibits drivers from having a phone or stand-alone electronic device in their hand or touching any part of their body while operating a motor vehicle on the road. As long as drivers do not have a phone in their hand or supported by any part of their body, they can make and receive phone calls through the speakerphone feature, earpiece, and wireless headset or if their phone is connected to an electronic watch or their vehicle's stereo. Drivers can also use GPS and other navigational devices via hands-free methods.

Another option for drivers is to check their settings feature on their phone to learn if it has a "Do

Not Disturb" feature. When activated, this feature detects when a phone is moving and notifies the

sender of a message or a phone call that the person they are trying to reach is driving and will

contact them once the driver has reached their destination.

While the new law will allow drivers to use "hands-free" technology to make/receive phone calls

and use GPS devices, drivers cannot at any time use their phones to write, read and send text

messages, e-mails, social media and internet data. The use of voice-to-text technology is allowed.

The hands-free law also prohibits drivers from watching videos as well as recording videos, though

GPS navigational videos and continuously running dash cams are permitted.

Drivers can listen to music through streaming apps on their phone, but they cannot activate their

apps or change music through their phone while driving. Music streaming apps programmed and

controlled through the vehicle’s radio system are allowed.

Many officers will be issuing warnings for violations in the first months of the law as part of the

education effort, but citations can and will be issued starting July 1 where officers believe they are

warranted, especially those violations that involve traffic crashes.

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