Texting While Driving/Distracted Driving in Forsyth County GA
Over the past couple years, Georgia law enforcement officers have been cracking down on distracted driving. This is in furtherance of the Hands-Free law that was passed in 2018. The law requires drivers to use hands-free technology when using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. However, there are some nuances to the law that are important to know. Hands-free is not as clear-cut as it sounds. Our Forsyth County Texting While Driving Attorneys have taken the time to study exactly what is allowed and prohibited under the new law. Contact us for any questions you may have.
What is the Hands-Free Law in Georgia?
Under Georgia law O.C.G.A. §40-6-241(c), there are several ways a person can be ticketed. It goes beyond just using your phone and it is important to note that it applies even when a driver is stopped at a stop light or stop sign. We have outlined some of the nuances of the law, but please reach out to our Forsyth County Lawyers if you have any additional questions.
- A driver cannot have a phone in their hand or use any part of their body to support their phone. Drivers can only use their phones to make or receive phone calls by using speakerphone, earpiece, wireless headphone, phone is connected to vehicle or an electronic watch. GPS navigation devices are allowed.
- Headsets and earpieces can only be worn for communication purposes and not for listening to music or other entertainment.
- A driver may not send or read any text-based communication unless using voice-based communication that automatically converts message to a written text or is being used for navigation or GPS
- A driver may not write, send or read any text messages, e-mails, social media or internet data content
- A driver may not watch a video unless it is for navigation.
- A driver may not record a video (continuously running dash cams are exempt)
- Music streaming apps can be used provided the driver activates and programs them when they are parked. Drivers cannot touch their phones to do anything to their music apps when they are on the road. Music streaming apps that include video also are not allowed since drivers cannot watch videos when on the road. Drivers can listen to and program music streaming apps that are connected to and controlled through their vehicle's radio.
- The hands-free law does NOT apply to the following electronic communication devices and the following devices can be used by the driver when on the road: radio, citizens band radio, citizens band radio hybrid, commercial two-way radio communication device or its functional equivalent, subscription-based emergency communication device, prescribed medical device, amateur or ham radio device, or in-vehicle security, navigation, or remote diagnostics system.
Is There Anything that is Allowed Under the Law?
There are many things that you are allowed to utilize under the law:
- Talking or texting while using hands-free technology
- Using GPS
- Wearing and using a smartwatch
- Using an earpiece to talk on the phone
In addition, some people are exempt from the hands-free requirements:
While reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, an actual or potential criminal or delinquent act, or road condition which causes an immediate and serious traffic or safety hazard;
(2) By an employee or contractor of a utility services provider acting within the scope of his or her employment while responding to a utility emergency;
(3) 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; or
(4) While in a motor vehicle which is lawfully parked.
Penalty for Distracted Driving in Forsyth County
For a first conviction of distracted driving in Georgia, the penalty will be a fine of not more than $50.00 and one point on your license. For a second conviction within 24 months, the penalty will be a fine of not more than $100.00 and two points on your license. For a third or subsequent conviction within a 24 month period of time, the penalty will be a fine of not more than $150.00 and three points on your license.
Most importantly, texting while driving can be the reasonable suspension to pull over a driver and start an investigation. Many of our clients are pulled over for texting or some other very minor traffic violation. However, once pulled over, the officer can start a DUI or drug possession investigation. Then the reason you are pulled over becomes irrelevant as long as it was a legitimate reason. That is why we tell everyone we can to drive responsibly! Don't let a minor violation lead to a drug possession case or even a DUI against you. However, if you have been charged with distracted driving or another offense, contact us immediately. Our Forsyth County Distracted Driving Lawyers are here to help when you need it most.
The best advice we can give you is not text and drive. However, we understand that people make mistakes. So if that happens, call our distracted driving attorneys in Forsyth County now. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to meet your needs! Contact us today for a free case evaluation.