Distracted driving in Georgia is defined as anything that takes away from the driver’s normal operation of the vehicle. Distracted driving caused by technology is said to date back to 1953 when Chrysler introduced the HiFi, a portable record player, in automobiles. As technology advanced, new laws in Atlanta, Georgia, have been passed to curtail distracted driving accidents.
Overview of Georgia’s distracted driving law
Georgia passed the hands-free law in 2018 to reduce distracted driving accidents; this law prohibits drivers from touching devices anywhere on the body while driving. They cannot use wireless devices to send or read texts or emails, even hands-free, but voice-to-text is allowed. Commercial vehicle drivers must not use more than one button to operate wireless devices or use a device if it requires unfastening a seat belt.
The first distracted driving offense commonly includes penalties of a $50 fine and one point added to the driving license. A second citation within 24 months of the first charge includes penalties of a $100 fine and two license points.
First responders and utility service employees responding to an emergency within the scope of employment are commonly exempt from distracted driving laws. Standard drivers are allowed to use their devices to report emergencies, crimes, traffic accidents or road hazards.
Drivers may not watch videos on wireless devices or phones except for checking navigation of the vehicle. Drivers cannot record videos, except for dash cameras, or operate streaming apps with video, but pre-programmed apps without video are allowed. Devices commonly exempt from the laws include radios, two-way radios, CB radios and diagnostic devices.
While some activities aren’t against the law, they may get a driver a citation. These measures are in place to discourage drivers from using distracting technology behind the wheel because it could lead to a serious accident.