The Hands-Free Georgia Act — or House Bill 673 — was passed by the Georgia General Assembly in March 2018, and its changes are slated to go into effect on July 1st. Most legal changes have a 90-day grace period after implementation, but this is being waived for HB 673. It will immediately become illegal for a driver to use a smartphone or a similar electronic device while driving, updating Georgia’s driving safety rules to match many other states. It will remain legal to use a hands-free device while behind the wheel, though.
A more-detailed explanation of newly-prohibited driving behaviors:
- You may not hold or support an electronic device in any way and by using any body part.
- You may not write, read, or send any message containing text.
- You may not view a video, movie, or animation on any electronic device, unless it is directly for the use of navigation, such as a GPS or map app.
- You may not record a video.
Driving behaviors not prohibited by the legal update include:
- You may use hands-free technology or devices to send a text message or speak to someone else.
- You may use a GPS or map app.
- You may use a smart-watch worn on your wrist.
- You may use traditional and emergency radio communication devices.
- You may use in-vehicle security communication devices.
- You may use a smartphone to report an emergency situation.
- You may use a smartphone in line with your professional duties.
The new Hands-Free Georgia Act makes it simpler for the Georgia criminal justice system to penalize distracted drivers through the introduction of new regulations. It does not, however, address possible civil penalties that can be brought against a texting motorist for causing a car accident. In order to seek fair compensation, an individual personal injury claim will have to be filed by the injured party, regardless of whether or not the distracted driver is criminally penalized or not.
Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC is a leading Atlanta personal injury law firm that represents the wrongfully injured. You can turn to us if you have questions and concerns about distracted driving claims and representation.