New law aims to stop distracted drivers in Georgia

New law aims to stop distracted drivers in Georgia
Mitchell County Sheriff's Office is cracking down on distracted drivers. (Source: WALB)
Mitchell County Sheriff's Office is cracking down on distracted drivers. (Source: WALB)
Phones and other devices must be mounted somewhere in the car. (Source: WALB)
Phones and other devices must be mounted somewhere in the car. (Source: WALB)

MITCHELL CO., GA (WALB) - Starting next month, it will be against the law for all drivers in Georgia to hold a phone or electronic device while behind the wheel. The new distracted driving law says you not only can't hold a phone in your hand, but it can't be in your lap as well.

"I know a lot of kids who text and drive and they get in a lot of accidents. It scares me. It scares me," said Kris Starnes, a Georgia driver

Distracted driving, something we're all warned not do, is still the cause of many car wrecks, like the one the Mitchell County Sheriff's Office saw recently.

"Caused him to run off the road and roll his vehicle," said Corporal Matthew Dearborn, with the Mitchell County Sheriff's Office.

Governor Nathan Deal signed the Hands-Free Georgia Act that will go into effect on July 1. The new law covers more than just texting and driving.

"Which is also included in distracted driving, anything that takes your attention away from the roadway," said Dearborn.

This also means that you can't have your phone or any other device in your hand or on your lap while driving.

"It's got to be mounted somewhere on your car. It can't touch any part of your body," said Dearborn.

Officers say it's easier than you think to spot a distracted driver.

"Any kind of failure to maintain lane, weaving, it could be as simple as looking at another car passing by and you don't notice that you swerve just a little bit. A lot of people tend to overreact when they swerve off the road and then that causes an accident as well," said Dearborn.

Officers say they will pull you over and ticket you if they see you're on your phone or distracted while driving, but at least one Georgia driver says he never uses his phone when he's in the driver seat.

"My mom made that kind of strict on me so I never. I tell my wife all the time because she loves to text and drive and call and talk on the phone," said Starnes.

The Mitchell County Sheriff's Office says if you need to make a call or send a text, pull over on the side of the road to do it.

Under the new law, your first violation will result in a $50 fine, $100 for a second violation, and a $150 fine for a third and any subsequent violations.

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