At last, Georgia has seen the writing on the wall, well if they were concentrating that is. We are now the 16th state in the country to enact a bill that would ban drivers from having a cell phone in their hands while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Sorry but in my mind this has been a no brainer for years, but thankfully Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has signed House Bill 673 into law, which goes into effect on July 1.
This law, prohibits drivers from having a phone in their hands or supported by any part of their body.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said.
“It’s second nature to pick up our phones when we are behind the wheel, but if you have it in your hand when driving after July 1, you run the risk of getting a ticket,” Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway said. “While we encourage everyone to stay off their phones, we recommend drivers to implement now whatever they will need in order to place and receive calls without having the phone in their hands or on their bodies.”
Those students, Gov. Deal said in his remarks, were preparing for a career that would have placed them on the front lines of saving lives. While the accident was a “great tragedy,” it reminds residents what can happen in an instant.
Come July 1st What can and can’t be done
- It’s a simple law and is common sense really, so whilst driving a vehicle you can’t be holding a phone with any part of your body
- Drivers are also banned from watching and recording videos except those that are used for navigational purposes and continuously running dash cameras.
- It will also be illegal for drivers to have a phone in their hands while they are stopped at a traffic signal or stop sign. However, it will be legal to make a hand-held phone call or send a text, email or social media post when the vehicle is lawfully parked.
- Drivers with bluetooth or cars that manage the calls through the center console like the Ford’s SYNC systems which allows you to answer your phone on the center screen or the button on the steering wheel are fine to use.
- Drivers will also be allowed to hold a phone to make calls to report a traffic accident, criminal activity, medical emergencies, fire or hazardous conditions. The legislation exempts law enforcement officers, fire and EMS personnel and employees, and contractors of utility companies if the call they are making is related to their official duties or while responding to a utility emergency.
- If it’s that urgent pull over safely, park up and make the call.
Major Tatum of the Waycross Police Department said at the Waycross Exchange Club “effective July 1, drivers may initially receive a warning if they are stopped for violating the Hands-Free law, … our officers are ready to work with the general public to educate drivers to understand the new law, but we feel mobile phones are a distraction when driving and you need eyes on the road and not on the phone”.
I think putting our phones down when we are behind the wheel will make our roads safer, because it means we all be more attentive it can only take a second for a small child to step out in front of a car, or that the car in front stops suddenly.