Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Changes in Distracted Driving Laws with the July 1 Hands Free Georgia Act

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jul 04, 2018 | 0 Comments

As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, there are many crimes that fall into the category of Traffic Violations in Georgia. One of those criminal offenses is distracted driving in Georgia. If you are a regular driver in Georgia, you have experienced a great deal of distracted drivers. In an effort to cut down on the amount of accidents and road fatalities, Georgia has enacted a new law to make distracted driving a harsher offense.

This new law is known as the Hands-Free Georgia Act. It essentially changes different parts of the original distracted driving law (O.C.G.A. §40-6-241). The purpose was to cut out any confusion as to what constitutes a device.

 so that people understand what is legal and illegal conduct while driving.

The Hands-Free Georgia Act replaced the term “cell phone” with “wireless telecommunications device” as defined above in O.C.G.A. §40-6-241

As of July 1st, 2018, you are not allowed to do any of the following while operating a motor vehicle in Georgia:

  • “Physically hold or support, with any part of his or her body, a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device
  • Reach for a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device in such a manner that requires the driver to no longer be in a seated driving position or properly restrained by a safety belt
  • Write, send, or read any text based communication, including but not limited to a text message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device
  • Watch a video or movie on a wireless telecommunications device or stand alone electronic device other than watching data related to the navigation of such vehicle 
  • Record a video on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device.”

A driver is, however, permitted to send a voice-based communication and to use his or her device for navigational purposes through a GPS application.   

Practice Note

The most important part of all this is that if you are accused of distracted driving, then you are now facing a misdemeanor offense in the state of Georgia. So if you violate any of the above provisions, you receive a misdemeanor. Each provision is charged individually. The penalty includes a minimum fee of $300. 

This is where we come in. A misdemeanor offense isn't the worst thing in the world, but if you are accused of violating several provisions of the Hands-Free Georgia Act, you are facing some serious penalties. The best defense comes from a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer. We are here 24/7 and will investigate all of the specifics of your case. We can apply whatever Georgia Criminal Defenses work best for the particular case. Each case is different and has its own challenges, and we understand that we are dealing with people's lives and livelihoods. If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a crime in Georgia, contact us today.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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