While it can cause serious accidents and injuries, many motorists do not take distracted driving seriously. Distracted driving behaviors, including texting while driving, eating behind the wheel, and talking to passengers, can easily lead to a devastating accident. In fact,  these behaviors are often just as damaging as drinking and driving.

USA Today explains Georgia’s current distracted driving laws, as well as exceptions to these regulations. All drivers must abide by the laws to ensure a safe experience for everyone who shares the road.

What is illegal

Some states ban texting and driving, but allow motorists to handle their phones when making calls while operating their vehicles. In Georgia, it is not legal to be in contact with your mobile device in any way while driving. In addition to banning calls and texts, you are not permitted to watch a video, select a song, or read a message while driving. Use of hands free, voice-activated devices is allowed, however.

What is not

If your vehicle has wireless capability and it is synced to your phone, there is a bit of leeway for drivers. For example, you are allowed to use the controls on the stereo to change settings on your phone. Drivers are also permitted to look at navigational apps on their phones. Special circumstances also warrant some exceptions. If you are involved in an emergency situation, you are allowed to use your phone to get help, regardless if you are driving at the time.

Penalties

First-time offenders will be subject to a $50 fine if they are convicted of distracted driving, while the second offense incurs a $100 fine. If distracted driving is thought to be a factor in a serious accident, one that causes severe injury or loss of life, the charge could be elevated to reckless driving.