Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

Georgia distracted driving law: You can still listen to music on your phone

Let’s face it, driving in Atlanta is a soul-sucking bummer. Many of us couldn’t bear it without music to sooth our inner commuting beast.

So there’s good news about Georgia’s new distracted driving law: You can still listen to tunes while you drive. But there are some restrictions. 

The Hands-Free Georgia Act, which takes effect July 1, prohibits motorists from handling their phones and other electronic devices (like MP3 players) while driving. That means no using your hands to play music, switch playlists, etc. 

You can still control your music through your vehicle’s radio system (if you have the technology to do it). And, of course, you can use voice activation to tell Siri (or Alexa or whoever) to play your favorite commuting tunes. 

A couple of caveats: 

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*The new law specifically prohibits drivers from watching videos, so music streaming apps that have video are not allowed. 

*Headsets and earpieces can only be worn for communication purposes – not for listening to music. 

You can find a more detailed look at what’s legal and what’s not under the new law here.

As we reported Monday, police officers will have discretion to issue warnings instead of tickets. But there’s no grace period for the new law, so tickets can be issued beginning July 1. 

So keep your hands on the wheel, but don’t stop the music.

About the Author

David Wickert writes about transportation issues for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He previously worked for newspapers in Washington state, Illinois, Virginia and Tennessee.

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