Texting While Driving in Roswell/Alpharetta
One of the notable changes in traffic regulations during 2018 was the implementation of the distracted driving law in Georgia. Starting July 1, 2018, the Hands-Free Act was introduced, mandating drivers to utilize hands-free technology when using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. Despite the seemingly straightforward nature of the law, there are intricacies that are crucial to understand. Our Roswell Distracted Driving Attorneys have thoroughly examined what is permitted and prohibited under this new legislation. Feel free to reach out to us at any time, day or night, for any questions you may have.
Distracted Driving Laws in Georgia
O.C.G.A. §40-6-241(c) states "While operating a motor vehicle on any state highway, individuals are prohibited from:
Physically holding or supporting a:
- (A) Wireless telecommunications device (with exceptions for earpieces, headphone devices, or wrist-worn devices for voice-based communication).
- (B) Stand-alone electronic device.
Writing, sending, or reading any text-based communication on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device (with exceptions for certain voice-based communications and device use for navigation purposes).
Watching a video or movie on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device, excluding data related to vehicle navigation.
Recording or broadcasting a video on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device, with exceptions for devices dedicated to continuous video recording or broadcasting within or outside the motor vehicle."
Contrary to the name "hands-free," the law prohibits not only holding the device with hands but also using any part of the body to physically support it. For instance, using the shoulder to support phone conversations violates the statute. Additionally, engaging in activities such as texting, watching movies, or recording on the device is illegal.
Permitted Actions in Georgia
Under the law, certain activities are allowed, including:
- Talking or texting while using hands-free technology.
- Using GPS.
- Wearing and using a smartwatch.
- Using an earpiece to talk on the phone.
Exemptions from Hands-Free Requirements
Certain individuals are exempt from the hands-free requirements, including those:
- Reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, criminal or delinquent act, or road condition causing immediate and serious traffic or safety hazards.
- Employees or contractors of utility services providers responding to a utility emergency.
- Law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, ambulance drivers, or other public safety first responders during the performance of official duties.
- Individuals in a lawfully parked motor vehicle.
Distracted Driving for Commercial Drivers in Georgia
Commercial drivers with a CDL face additional restrictions, such as using only a single button on a wireless device for voice communication and refraining from reaching for a device in a manner that removes them from a seated driving position or proper safety belt restraint.
Penalties for Distracted Driving in Georgia
Penalties for distracted driving include fines and points on the license, escalating with each conviction within a 24-month period.
- First conviction: Fine up to $50.00 and 1 point.
- Second conviction within 24 months: Fine up to $100.00 and 2 points.
- Third or subsequent conviction within 24 months: Fine up to $150.00 and 3 points.
Contact Our Distracted Driving Lawyers in Roswell Today
Texting while driving can be the grounds for pulling over a driver and initiating an investigation. Even minor traffic violations like texting can lead to more serious charges such as DUI or drug possession. It is crucial to drive responsibly and avoid letting minor infractions escalate. If charged with distracted driving or another offense, contact our Georgia Texting While Driving Lawyers promptly for assistance. We are available 24/7 to address your needs.