What's legal and what isn't in the Georgia distracted driving bill? Ga. House Bill 673 would require drivers to use hands-free technology when using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. The goal is to pry our eyes away from cell phones while we’re behind the wheel – behavior experts say has led to a spike in fatalities on Georgia highways . But “hands free” isn’t as clear cut as it sounds. The bill prohibits anyone from handling a “wireless telecommunication device” whi
Photo: Mandi Albright/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: Mandi Albright/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s new distracted driving law: What’s legal, what’s not?

The Hands-Free Georgia Act takes effect July 1. The law will require drivers to use hands-free technology when using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. But “hands free” isn’t as clear cut as it sounds. Here’s a look at what would and would not be allowed.

Prohibited

*Holding or supporting, with any part of the body, a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device (for example, an iPod).

*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.



RELATED: With Ga. hands-free driving law, Cobb cities plan to nix their versions


Allowed

*Speaking or texting while using hands-free technology.

*Using a GPS system or mapping app.

*Wearing and using a smart watch.

*Using an earpiece to talk on the phone.

*Using radios, CB radios, CB radio hybrids, commercial two-way radios, subscription-based emergency communication devices, prescribed medical devices, amateur or ham radios and “in-vehicle security, navigation or remote diagnostics” systems.

*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. You can also 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.

RELATED: What about using Spotify, Pandora or streaming music while driving?

On Reddit: AJC’s David Wickert AMA about Georgia Cellphone Law

You can learn more about the law at myajc.com.

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