New hands-free law in Georgia takes effect July 1

ATLANTA — Drivers, beware!

A new law goes into effect July 1 that mandates drivers in Georgia will have to keep their phones out of their hands and away from their bodies while behind the wheel.

“Now more than ever it is important for folks to put their attention on their driving while they are driving. Not eating. Not putting on makeup and especially not with this in their hands or their eyes on this,” Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Col. Mark W. McDonough said in a news release.

“If your hands are on this, it is not on the steering wheel,” McDonough added. “If your eyes are on this, it is not on the roadway. You can try to argue the what ifs and rationalize whatever but the fact of the matter is we know distracted driving causes accidents and it is taking lives.”

Under the law, drivers can talk on their phones as long as the device is not in their hands or supported by their body. They cannot write, read or send text messages, e-mails, social media or material on the internet.

The law also prohibits drivers from watching and recording video, but they can watch GPS/navigational videos and continuous running dash cams are permitted. However, voice-to-text communication is also legal, and drivers can listen to streaming music through their phones as long as they do not touch their phone to program them when they are on the road.

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