First night of Georgia's hands-free law in full effect

Officials said it's important to remember devices can not touch your body while driving. (Source: WALB).
Officials said it's important to remember devices can not touch your body while driving. (Source: WALB).

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It is July 1st which means it's the first day drivers in Georgia have to be hands free.

The Georgia State Patrol said with this new law, and the July fourth holiday, troopers will be watching more closely.

Troopers want to send an important reminder to keep your phones off your bodies while driving.

Officials said they will be looking for distracted drivers and impaired drivers over the next few days.

Troopers said they will implement a 90-day educational period, but the consequences of breaking this law, starting Sunday, are at the discretion of each particular trooper.

"90 days, 3 months, huge education campaign. But the colonel did say it's at the discretion of the trooper. If he does want to cite that person under the hands free. It's very simple. You can not have that phone in your hand," said Trooper Robert Corbin, GSP Post 40 Albany.

GSP officers said there are exceptions for first responders, and citizens reporting a traffic crash, medical emergency, a criminal act, and more.

Here is a list of what you cannot do: 

According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, 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.

There are exceptions to the law for utility workers and law enforcement officers.

The exceptions are as follows:

Reporting a traffic crash, medical emergency, fire, criminal activity or hazardous road conditions.

An employee or contractor of an utility service provider acting within the scope of their employment while responding to an utility emergency.

A first responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS) during the performance of their official duties.

When in a lawfully parked vehicle—this DOES NOT include vehicles stopped for traffic signals and stop signs on the public roadway.

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