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Hands Free Georgia Law

By Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia

Code Sections 40-6-241.1 and 40-6-241.2 are gone, effective July 1, 2018.

Any distraction driving violation needs to be written under 40-6-241.

Definitions:

“Stand-alone electronic device”

What it is: A device that stores audio or video data files to be retrieved on demand by a user. (Example: iPod)

“Wireless Telecommunications Device”

What it is:

Cell phones

Portable telephones or text-messaging devices

Personal digital assistant

GPS receiver

Any similar portable wireless device used to send/receive communications or data

What it is not:

Radio

CB Radio or CB Radio Hybrid

Commercial two-way radio (or functional equivalent)

Subscription based emergency communications device

Proscribed medical device

Amateur or ham radio device

In-vehicle security, navigation, or remote diagnostics system

 

What is prohibited?

School Bus Operations

A school bus driver may not use a wireless telecommunications device or two-way radio while loading or unloading passengers.

A school bus driver may not use a wireless telecommunications device while the bus is in motion, unless it is used in a manner similar to a two-way radio to allow communication with school or public safety officials.

Motor Vehicle Operations

A driver may not physically hold or support a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone computer with any part of their body.

Exceptions: Earpiece, headphone, smart watch

May not write, send, or read any text-based communication.

Exceptions: Voice-based communication automatically converted to written message.

Navigation/ GPS

May not watch a video

Exception: Navigation

May not record a video

Exception: Continuous recording/broadcasting (dash cams)

 

For commercial motor vehicle operators only:

May not use more than a single button to initiate a voice conversation

May not reach for a wireless telecommunications device in such a manner that they are:

No longer in a seated driving position

Or properly restrained by a seat belt

(Note-CMV provisions remain unchanged from previous law (former 4-6-241.2 (b)(2))-avoids conflict with FMCSA regulations).

Exceptions for everybody (40-6-241 (g)):

Reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, crime, or hazardous road condition

Employee/contractor of utility service provider acting within the scope of their employment while responding to a utility emergency.

By a first responder (police, fire, EMS) during the performance of their official duties

When in a lawfully parked vehicle

 

What are the penalties?

First offense within a 24-month period (measured from date of last conviction):

1 point (40-5-57(c)(1)(A)(xv))

Fine of not more than $50, with no additional costs/penalties, etc. (40-6-241 (f)(1)(A)

Driver in court for a first violation of 40-6-241 (f)(1) (supporting/holding device) who produces in court a device or proof of purchase of a device that would allow them to comply in the future shall not be guilty. (40-6-241 (f)(2)

Driver must affirm they have not previously used this before (one time only, but no state-wide verification).

Court shall have to determine what constitutes proof of a device.

Second offense within a 24-month period (measured from date of last conviction):

2 points (40-5-57 (c)(1)(A)(xvi))

Fine of not more than $100, with no additional costs/penalties, etc. (40-6-241 (f)(1)(B))

Third or subsequent violation within 24-month period (measured from date of last conviction)

3 points (40-5-57 (c)(1)(A)(xvii))

Fine of not more than $150 (40-6-241 (f)(1)(C))

Possible myths about HB 673: (Things that were considered / in earlier versions of bill that were not in the final bill passed.)

Effective date – There is no effective date in the text of the bill, therefore, it becomes effective on 07/01 should it be signed. (OCGA 1-3-4 (a)(1))

Predicate offense – Distracted driving is not a predicate offense for 1st Degree Vehicular Homicide.

Primary offense – There is no requirement that an officer observe another violation or write any other citation to enforce this code section.

Record of dismissals – DDS will not receive notice of citations that are Noelle proseui’d.