All drivers should know the rules of the road to protect themselves and other drivers. These laws change frequently, and as a driver, it is your responsibility to keep up to date and understand them.
Georgia passed its Speakerphone two years ago to reduce accidents in the state. The law provides penalties for driving a cellphone and other technology in your hands. Violations of this law can leave their mark on your driving record and your wallet.
If you have been charged with or suffered injury as a result of a crime related to the Hands-Free Georgia Act, please contact one of our agents Personal Injury Lawyers. Our lawyers can help you understand your rights and fight for them while you recover.
What is Georgia Hands Free Act?
The Georgia Hands Free Act went into effect July 1, 2018. It states that drivers are not allowed to hold a cell phone or similar technology in their hands or touch any part of their body while driving. This means that you cannot hold your phone in your lap or between your ear and shoulder while traveling.
The law prohibits drivers from doing the following while driving:
- Write or send texts
- Read news
- Watch videos
- Use the internet
- Posting on social media
- Record videos
Drivers can listen to music, but only if the device enables hands-free calling and programming while on the move. For example, you can listen to your favorite playlist, but you cannot pick up your phone to switch to another if you decide to listen to something else.
There are some exceptions to this law. If you witness an accident or crime while driving, you can report it on your phone. This also applies to all other emergencies, including urgent medical cases.
For example, suppose you are a first responder performing official duties, or an employee or contractor responding to on-call responsibilities related to your job. In this case, you can also qualify as an exception to the rule. If you are using your phone in a lawfully parked vehicle, you can collect your phone to use it. However, the definition of lawfully parked does not include stopping at traffic lights or stop signs.
If you have been involved in an accident and need help determining if you have violated this law, our skilled auto accident attorneys are ready to help.
What does the hands-free law mean for drivers?
The Georgia Hands Free Act restricts drivers’ use of cell phones and technology. You can still use your phone in your vehicle as long as you don’t have to touch it. For example, voice-to-text is not against the law like physical typing. You can also use and program your GPS as long as you don’t have to use your hands to do it.
Georgia passed its hands-free law after the state saw an increase in rear-end collisions on the road. Many of these accidents have involved drivers between the ages of 15 and 25 on a handheld device.
By the time Georgia passed its law, 15 other states had already passed similar laws. These states saw a dramatic decrease in accidents and deaths within the first two years after the law went into effect.
What are the penalties for violating Georgia’s Hands-Free Law?
Our auto accident attorneys can help you understand penalties for violating the Freehand Law. However, we provide a brief overview here. At first glance, these penalties may seem minor. However, they become steeper for repeat offenders.
Your first conviction results in a point of your license and a $ 50 fine. A second conviction doubles the fine and the point penalty. A third conviction will cost you a $ 150 fine and the state will add three points to your record.
You will only receive a second or subsequent conviction if those offenses occur within two years of the first. For example, if you break the law in 2020 and receive a point and $ 50 fine and then get convicted again in 2024, that offense will also count as a first conviction.
However, if you have multiple convictions within 24 months, fines of $ 300 or more could be imposed. You may also have suspended your license.
First-time offenders can drop charges against them if they can show the court that they have received a device that enables hands-free technology to be used. If you want to learn more about how the charges can be dropped, or if you need representation for an accident in violation of Georgia Hands-Free Law, contact our office to speak to a car accident attorney.
Work with an experienced personal injury attorney
A car accident attorney can help you understand your rights if you are involved in an accident in which you or another driver failed to comply with the Hands-Free Georgia Act. At the Greathouse Trial LawWe can connect you with a personal injury attorney who will represent you in court and prepare a comprehensive case for you.
Contact us today at 678-369-9411 to schedule a consultation and learn more about Georgia Hands-Free Law.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“Post”) is for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. The information contained in this post should not be construed as legal advice to the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended as a substitute for legal advice on any particular topic. No reader of this post should act on or dispense with the information contained in or accessible through this post without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice as to the particular facts and circumstances at issue with an attorney that is approved by the recipient state, state, or other suitable licensing jurisdiction.
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