Using a cell phone while you operate a vehicle greatly increases the likelihood you will end up in a collision. According to the National Safety Council, you are up to 23 times more likely to end up in a car accident while texting than if you had both eyes on the road.
To combat the epidemic of distracted driving taking place around the state, Georgia passed a new law that went into effect on July 1st earlier this year. Here is everything you need to know about the new law, but for the most part, as long as you keep your phone out of the way, you will have nothing to worry about.
The Hands-Free Georgia Act
This law prohibits motorists from holding a cell phone while a vehicle is in motion. That means they cannot make a call or text with an exception if there was an emergency taking place. You can also hold a cell phone as long as the car is in park. That does not mean you can use your phone while stopped at a red light. It means you are in a valid parking space and have brought the vehicle to a complete stop.
Additionally, motorists can continue to wear smartwatches. They can also use a GPS app while the car is in motion. However, the driver must input the address before the vehicle takes off. The driver cannot place his or her hands onto the device while driving. A fine for a first offense will be $50 and $150 for any repeat offenses.
The new law may be a step in the right direction, but there are plenty of people who believe it does not go far enough in ensuring people do not distract themselves while driving. Additionally, there is research to suggest that even hands-free devices can distract a motorist, but the law may expand in the coming years.