Even after the Hands Free Georgia Law was passed last year, some cities in the state of Georgia are still seeing a rise in distracted driving. The City of Dunwoody in particular has just launched a new safety campaign to call its residents as well as those just traveling through to be more aware of the rules of the road. The campaign is titled: “See and Be Seen: We're All Responsible.” The campaign includes: videos, ads, a special website and social media posts.
According to Dunwoody spokeswoman, Jennifer Boettcher, who stated: “Our Mayor and City Council are very concerned about this issue. After some close calls and accidents this year, they wanted the city to do more. The start of a new school year is the perfect time to talk about what drivers and pedestrians can do to make our roads and crosswalks safer.”
Dunwoody has put a strong emphasis on enforcing traffic laws, especially the new hands-free driving rule. Officers have issued more than 1,150 hands-free citations since the law went into effect last July.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I write frequently on the effects of distracted driving in Georgia. Most drivers are unaware still of what they are allowed to do with their mobile devices while in their vehicles. In today's post, I will outline the changes made to the law by the Georgia Hands Free Act which was passed last year.
Georgia Hands Free Law
The Hands Free Law took effect last summer and added the following provisions to our law on texting while driving in Georgia:
- Drivers cannot have a phone in their hand or touching any part of their body while talking on their phone while driving.
- Even with hands-free technology, drivers cannot write, read or send text messages, e-mails, social media content and other internet data while on the road.
- Drivers cannot watch videos when they are on the road.
- Drivers cannot use their phones or electronic devices to record video when they are on the road.
- Drivers may listen to streaming music that does not include videos on the screen of their phone or device while driving but cannot touch their phones while on the road to activate or program any music streaming app.
- Streaming music that is controlled by and listened through the vehicle's radio is allowed.
- Drivers who need to touch their phones to activate/program their music streaming apps must do so before getting on the road.
The fine for a first conviction is $50.00 and 1 point assessed against the driver's license. The fine is $100.00 and 2 points for a second conviction and $150.00 and 3 points for three or more conviction. The fines for a 2nd or 3rd offense only apply when date of a 2nd or 3rd conviction takes place within 24 months of the date of the first conviction. First time offenders can have the charge dropped by showing the court they have obtained a device that allows them to talk on a phone with hands-free technology or devices.
Being pulled over for texting while driving can lead to more in depth investigations to any other unlawful acts or behaviors that may be taking place in the suspected vehicle. Many times, I get calls from future clients who have been pulled over for violating the Hands Free Law, and the traffic stop resulted in an investigation for DUI in Georgia.
If you or a loved one has been cited or arrested for a serious traffic violation, contact our offices today. A Georgia DUI Attorney can help you with your case now.