What is The Georgia Hands Free Law?
The Hands Free Georgia Law (House Bill 673) is an important and relatively new law that went into effect on July 1, 2018. The Georgia Hands Free Law is intended to prevent distracted driving caused by mobile devices.
What is and isn’t allowed under the Georgia Hands Free LawThe Georgia Hands Free Law does NOT completely prohibit the use of mobile devices by the driver.
Drivers can use GPS systems to follow mapping directions. They can also use a phone if it is either connected to their car or is through a digital watch – provided they are either using a/n wireless headset or earpiece, or that they have turned on their speakerphone.
While a driver is able to use an earpiece or headphones to interact on a phone call, they cannot be used for any other purposes, such as for music. The person cannot listen to music via headphones and cannot interact at all with a music streaming app when they are driving; however, they can listen to music through an app if they set it up to play when they are parked. The only way a person can interact with a music streaming app while driving is if they are using the car’s radio to control it.
Although drivers are not allowed to text-message via typing, they can do so via voice activation.
A person cannot typically record video while driving, but they are able to use dashcams that are on throughout the drive.
Georgia distracted driving law penaltiesThose convicted of breaking the rules of the Georgia Hands Free Law are subject to rather minor penalties:
- First conviction: $50 fine and 1 point on their driver’s license;
- Second conviction (within 24 months of first conviction): $100 and 2 points on their driver’s license; and
- Third conviction (within 24 months of first conviction): $150 and 3 points on their license.
In fact, first-time offenders have the option to buy a device that allows them to use hands-free technology for phone calls. When they present documentation to the court showing they have taken this safety measure, the state will drop the charges.
Regardless how “soft” these penalties are, the driver can be held liable for damages if they get in a car crash with you.