Georgia’s new hands-free driving law is coming and coming soon, folks — it’s time to get ready.
“Get a mount, get used to it, get used to getting that phone out of your hands,” WSB Radio traffic reporter Mark McKay said.
Gov. Nathan Deal signed the Hands-Free Georgia Act — which prohibits motorists from handling their cellphones while driving — into law last month and it goes into effect July 1.
With that in mind, McKay, Mark Arum and their colleagues at News 95.5/AM750 WSB hosted a roundtable discussion Tuesday night with other representatives from the radio station, Channel 2 Action News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as well as law enforcement and government officials and other experts.
They answered a full range of questions from “traffic troopers” in the studio audience, other listeners and readers and from social media. If the roundtable made anything clear, it’s that there’s still a lot of confusion about the law, what’s allowed and what isn’t.
The long and short of it: You’re not allowed to hold your phone.
Drivers, though, can still talk and text and listen to music, as long as they’re using hands-free technology. GPS systems can be used as long as drivers are not holding their phones.
And while law enforcement agencies have discretion about whether or not to issue warnings instead of citations, but there is no formal grace period.
“This is really gonna save lives in Georgia,” state Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta, who introduced the bill, said during a call into the roundtable.
Find more do’s and don’t’s below, and return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB Radio and and Channel 2 Action News for more coverage.
*Holding or supporting a wireless device with you hand or body
*Watching a video or movie
*Writing, sending or reading text messages while holding your device
*Speaking or texting with hands-free technology
*Wearing and using a smart watch
*Using an earpiece to talk on the phone
*Using in-vehicle systems for all purposes
*Using a GPS system or mapping app