The bill takes further pains to define exactly what Georgia motorists could and couldn’t do while driving if it becomes law:
*Writing, sending or reading any text-based communication, including a text message, instant message, e-mail or internet data while holding your device.
*Watching a video or movie other than watching data related to the navigation of your vehicle (i.e., your mapping app or GPS screen).
*Recording a video.
*Speaking or texting while using hands-free technology.
*Using a GPS system or mapping app.
*There are circumstances where you can handle an electronic device while driving: Reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, a crime or delinquent act or a hazardous road condition. Oh, and you can use your hands if you’re lawfully parked (not at a stoplight – “lawfully” means off or beside the road in an area open to parking).
*Some people are exempt from the hands-free requirement if they’re performing official duties: police, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, ambulance drivers, other first responders and utility employees or contractors responding to a utility emergency.
State Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, chaired a subcommittee that hashed out all the details. He said the goal was to draft a law that was clear and enforceable.
Reeves also wanted a bill that could pass the General Assembly, which has rejected hands-free legislation in the past. That last concern led a House commission that studied distracted driving last year to forego recommending a complete ban on using electronic devices while driving.
Learn more about the toll of distracted driving – and legislative efforts to address it – here.