As of July 1, 2018, Georgia is now one of 16 states that have banned the use of a hand-held cell phone while driving. Under the new Hands-Free Georgia Act (House Bill 673), drivers in Georgia may not:
- Physically hold or support a wireless communication device or stand-alone electronic device with any part of the body;
- Write, send, or read any text based communications on such devices;
- Watch a video or movie on such devices; or
- Record or broadcast a video on such devices.
The Hands-Free Georgia Act does allow drivers to use a single button on a wireless device to make a voice phone call. Under the new law, drivers may also use a wireless device for voice-to-text communications and for navigation purposes. Drivers may use a wireless device in a lawfully parked vehicle, but not while the vehicle is at a stop light or in stopped traffic.
Violations of the Hand-Free Georgia Act carry a fine of up to $50 for a first conviction, $100 for a second conviction, and $150 for a third conviction. First-time offenders can avoid a fine by appearing in court with a device or receipt for a device that allows for hand-free calls.
Similar hands-free laws have also been enacted in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
With the growing use