Weather
sponsored
by

What Does Georgia’s New Hands-free Law Entail?

As of July 1, it is illegal to hold your phone while driving in the state of Georgia. Drivers may still use one button on a hands-free device to answer or end a call, but the Hands-Free Georgia Act is something The Peach State hopes will save lives.

hands-free bluetooth setup in car“If you listen to the stories of families who have lost loved ones or who were seriously injured as a result of collisions from drivers who were not watching the road because they were using their handheld device, you were pretty well convinced that there is a need to do something,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said after signing the bill in Statesboro May 2.

Georgia had previously made texting while driving illegal, however, the law has been hard to enforce.

“It’s going to be a whole lot easier to enforce than the one we have now,” Deal said. “Just simply saying no texting and driving and having signs on the roadway reminding people of that doesn’t seem to have stopped the process of people holding a phone and texting.”

There will be a 90-day grace period from the July 1 start date of the new law, and a first offense calls for a ticket or points on your license.

The reason Deal signed the bill in Statesboro is because it is home to Georgia Southern University, where five nursing students were tragically killed and two others injured in 2015 in a highway crash on their way to school because of a truck driver who was distracted by using his phone. The truck driver, John Wayne Johnson, is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for vehicular homicide and the trucking company he worked for had to pay out tens of millions of dollars in settlements to the families of those who died.

Personal injury cases like this are all too common and something Monge & Associates—a high-rated law firm based out of Atlanta—knows how to handle from a legal perspective.

Monge & Associates hopes no one has to go through the tragedies the families of these nursing students went through. But the firm also wants those who are impacted or injured by distracted drivers to be represented fairly in court.

While the new law will hopefully cut down on the number of distracted drivers, it certainly has drivers across Georgia scrambling to figure out exactly what it entails. Monge & Associates is here to answer a few of those questions:

  • Georgia drivers can no longer cradle or hold a phone or other mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. Making an emergency call is an exception.
  • Georgians can use GPS, voice-to-text features, and use one button to make and receive calls hands-free.
  • Bluetooth earpieces and single-ear headphones are acceptable hands-free accessories for drivers.
  • For drivers that don’t have Bluetooth-capable cars, an earbud with a mic on it in a single ear is good workaround.
  • Drivers cannot reach for a mobile device if it requires undoing a seat belt or standing up.
  • Texting, emailing, watching videos, or recording video with phones from behind the wheel are all banned. You can do these things if you are legally parked (being stopped at a stoplight does not count).
  • Police, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, ambulance drivers, other first responders and utility employees or contractors responding to a utility emergency are exempt from the hands-free requirement.

Scott Monge, attorney at law, is available to discuss the Hands Free Georgia Act, as well as how you can make sure you’re being represented properly in personal injury cases. If you would like more information, please contact Andrew Schetter at aschetter@webimax.com or call 888-932-4629 x8356.

About Monge & Associates

Monge & Associates, located in Atlanta, Ga., can assist clients recovering from auto accidents, slip-and-fall injuries, nursing home neglect, workers’ compensation cases and much more.

For more information, contact Scott Monge, attorney at law by calling 800-676-4878 (HURT) or email info@monge.lawyer.