Georgia’s Hands Free Law turns a year old on July 1st. Under Georgia’s Hands-Free Distracted Driving Law, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241, you can be ticketed for using a “wireless telecommunications device” of any kind while driving, if the device is touching any part of your body, or for the use of a stand alone electronic device in the same manner. The catch-all intent of the new law is to police and ticket anything that distracts from the safe operation of a vehicle. If you take your eyes off the road for any reason while the vehicle is in motion or while the motor is running, you could still be ticketed under this law.
How Does Georgia Code 40-6-241 define A Wireless Telecommunications Device?
A wireless telecommunications device includes a cellular phone, a portable telephone, a text-messaging device, a personal digital assistant, a stand-alone computer, a global positioning system receiver, or substantially similar portable wireless device that is used to initiate or receive communication, information, or data.
How Does OCGA 40-6-241 define a Stand-alone Electronic Device?
A stand-alone electronic device is defined as any device which stores audio or video that can be viewed immediately or on demand, such as an iPod or MP3 player, a GoPro.
GA’s Hands Free Law and Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators
1. Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Operators can only use one button to begin or end a phone call.
2. A CMV operator cannot reach for a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device that it no longer requires the driver to be a seated position or properly restrained by a safety belt
Georgia’s Hands Free Law and School Bus Drivers
1. Use of a wireless telecommunications device or two-way radio is prohibited while a school bus driver is loading or unloading passengers.
2. The driver can only use a wireless telecommunication device while the bus is in motion as a two-way radio to allow live communications between the driver and school and public safety officials
Are There Any Special Exceptions to OCGA 40-6-241, Georgia’s Hands Free Law?
You will not be in violation of the law if any of the following apply:
1. You are reporting a medical emergency, traffic accident, fire, criminal activity or hazardous road conditions.
2. You are an employee or contractor of a utility service provider performing under the scope of their employment responding to a utility based emergency
3. You are a first responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS) performing your duties which necessitate use of a mobile device while on the job.
4. If you are in what is considered under the law to be a parked vehicle—this DOES NOT include vehicles stopped for traffic signals and stop signs on public roadways.
What Are The Penalties, Points and Fines For A Georgia Hands Free Law(GA Code 40-6-241) Violation?
– First conviction: $50, one point on a license;
– Second conviction: $100, two points on a license;
– Third and subsequent convictions: $150, three points on a license.
How has this law changed Georgia’s distracted drivers over the course of the past year? Distracted drivers are certainly prevalent in Georgia, from Atlanta to Savannah and everywhere in between, just stop at any traffic light and look around. Although statistics show that accidents are down, auto insurance claims have declined and of course, traffic citations are UP, it seems that its not a simple problem to solve because behavior needs to be changed and not everyone is willing to make adjustments in light of the ticket and fine payment. You can read the Atlanta Journal Constitution article for additional information by visiting this link.
If you get a ticket for distracted driving, we can suggest options regarding this violation, give our Atlanta Distracted Driving Ticket Lawyers a call at 404-315-9936 for a free consultation