Gov. Deal signs new Georgia law that prohibits holding phone while driving

Joanna Estrada
May 3, 2018

On Wednesday, Governor Nathan Deal will travel across the state, making ceremonial stops to sign several bills into law.

Georgia is now the 16th state in the nation to enact a law banning drivers from having a cell phone in hand.

According to a press release by the Georgia House of Representatives, drivers would not be allowed to physically hold or support any wireless telecommunications device or a stand-alone electronic device, such as an iPad, iPod, Kindle, etc., with any part of the body, while operating a vehicle. Drivers can use hand's free devices or speaker phone to make phone calls, and can use voice-to-text technology, under the act.

You can read a copy of the bill here. It is legal to make a hand-held phone call or send a text, e-mail or social media post when the vehicle is lawfully parked.

Under the bill, drivers are only allowed to touch their cell phones to dial, receive or end a phone call and Global Positioning System navigation.

It is also illegal for drivers to have a phone in their hand when they are stopped for a traffic signal or stop sign.

Watching and recording videos are not allowed except for videos that are used for navigational purposes and continuously running dash cams.

By a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical services personnel, ambulance driver, or other similarly employed public safety first responder during the performance of his or her official duties.

Former Cowetan Suzanne Minarcine got involved in the push for the hands free legislation.

Governor Deal: "Here at the home of Georgia Southern, I think is an appropriate place to sign this legislation".

The governor will sign the bill inside the North Wing of the State Capitol at 9 a.m. The location was chosen to commemorate the 2015 deaths of five Georgia Southern University nursing students who were killed in a vehicle crash on Interstate 16.

The driver later admitted in a deposition that he had been texting while driving, according to news reports after he was indicted on multiple charges, including first-degree vehicular homicide, in 2016. (This does not apply to voice-based communication that are converted to a text message or the use of the device for navigation).

House Bill 673, also known as the Hands-Free Georgia Act, will also be signed into law Wednesday. "Our hope is that it can save lives and bring awareness".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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