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

There’s no grace period for Georgia’s distracted driving law

No, there isn’t a 90-day grace period for enforcement of Georgia’s new distracted driving law. 

That’s the word from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the agency charged with educating the public about the Hands-Free Georgia Act, which takes effect July 1. 

The act (also known as House Bill 673), which passed the General Assembly in March, prohibits motorists from handling their phones or other electronic devices while driving. You can still talk on the phone – you’ll just have to use a hands-free device. 

Robert Hydrick, a spokesman for the office, said some media outlets have reported that law enforcement agencies may offer a “grace period” of up to 90 days before enforcing the law. Though police will have discretion about whether to issue warnings or tickets, Hydrick said there’s no grace period built into the law. 

State Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta, the bill’s sponsor, echoed that sentiment in a press release Monday. 

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“Many officers will be issuing warnings for violations in the first months of the law as part of the educational effort,” Carson said. “But citations can and will be issued starting July 1, where law enforcement officers believe they are warranted, especially those violations that involve traffic crashes.” 

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

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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