ACWORTH, Georgia. On July 1, a new Georgia texting and driving law will go into effect. The Hands-Free Georgia Act makes it illegal to touch your phone while driving. Yes, you read that correctly. If you touch your phone to change a song, answer a call, or pick up your phone to put it to your ear, you could face a hefty fine in Georgia, starting on July 1. What are the specifics?
According to AL.com, the law lists several instances where cell phone use is no longer permitted. Here are the specifics:
- Drivers can continue to use their cell phones if they use speakerphone or an earpiece, wireless headphones, or if the phone is connected to the vehicle. If you can answer calls hands-free, you are still permitted to talk on the phone, as long as you don’t touch your cell phone in the process.
- Drivers cannot read text messages, unless they are using a voice system that converts spoken language into a written text.
- Drivers cannot watch videos while operating a motor vehicle, though an exception is made for drivers looking at a GPS navigation system.
- Drivers are not permitted to change songs or tinker with music streaming apps while driving.
- The only time a driver is permitted to pick up the phone to make a call is in the event of an emergency.
- Drivers can look at their devices and touch their cell phones if they are legally parked. However, stop signs and red lights don’t count, so put down your phone and pre-program your music or GPS, before you leave home.
According to WSB-TV, the stricter laws are a response to the increase in traffic accidents and fender benders in Georgia in recent years. WSB-TV reports that already 15 states have passed these stricter distracted driving laws. Lawmakers and experts believe that the increase in accidents is due largely to the heavier use of smartphones on the road. Distracted driving is dangerous. Every year, more than 3,000 people die and another 391,000 people were injured due to distracted driving. These numbers have been increasing in recent years as more people buy and own smartphones.
The fines for breaking the law are $50 for a first-time violation, $100 for a second, and $150 for a third violation. Lawmakers hope that the zero-tolerance law will make it easier for officers to enforce texting and driving violations.
The passage of stricter distracted driving laws also protects victims of car accidents. If you’re hurt due to a distracted driver, now you’ll only need to show that a driver was touching his or her phone to show that he or she was breaking the law. This can make it easier for victims to seek damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills. Imbriale Injury Law is closely watching how this law will impact personal injury and car accident cases. If you’ve been hurt due to a distracted driver, you have rights. Contact the car accident lawyers in Acworth, Georgia at Imbriale Injury Law today to learn more about how we can help.
Imbriale Injury Law
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Woodstock, GA 30188