If you’re driving to visit friends and family this holiday season, make sure you stay focused on the road to prevent an accident. With more people on the roads during the holiday season, driving becomes more dangerous. Not only are there more people on the roads, but travelers tend to be distracted by their holiday plans and using their phones to communicate with friends, family, and work. This distracted driving not only puts the driver at a greater risk of an accident but also endangers all of the cars around them. Georgia law is strict about not using your phone while driving, so this holiday season, remember to drive hands free and stay safe.

Georgia’s Hands-Free Act Overview

The Hands-Free Georgia Act went into effect on July 1, 2018, and outlines the restrictions to using certain devices while operating a motor vehicle. This act not only restricts texting while driving but now also restricts other forms of cell phone use while driving a vehicle. Do you know what the law says about using a cell phone while driving?

  • It is illegal to physically hold or support any telecommunications device with any part of the driver’s body while operating a vehicle.
  • A driver can legally use an earpiece with their cell phone for communication purposes while driving, as long as it does not impair the driver’s hearing ability.
  • A driver may not use a headset or headphones to listen to music while driving.
  • Writing, reading, or sending any text-based message is illegal while driving.
  • Voice-based communication that is then converted into a written message is legal to use while driving.
  • The device may be used for navigation or GPS purposes while driving.
  • A driver may not use the device to watch videos or record videos unless these videos are related to the navigation of the vehicle or for use as a dashcam.

To keep things simple, don’t use your phone while driving unless you’re looking at your GPS or on a phone call using headphones. With more traffic on the roads during the busy holiday season, cops are on the lookout for distracted drivers. Keep two hands on the wheel and your phone away to make sure you stay safe and out of trouble.

Georgia Traffic Accident Statistics

Did you know that the number of distracted driving cases in Georgia has increased by more than 400 percent in the last decade? Many crashes, especially those involving teenagers, list the use of a cell phone as a contributing factor to the crash. The worst age group for cell phone usage while driving are drivers aged 16-24.

In Georgia, drivers who are caught violating the hands-free law are given a citation which includes a monetary fine and points on their license. Police in Georgia are more active now in looking for drivers who are illegally using their phones while driving in order to prevent serious accidents from happening due to distracted driving.

Ways to stay safe while using your phone in the car

Although you should avoid using your phone while driving, there may be some instances where you need to use your phone to communicate with other people or to look up directions. There are some ways that you can stay safe while driving, follow the hands-free law, and still use your phone for communication or directions.

Bring Someone Along

Try and travel with a friend or family member who can be in charge of your phone. While you’re driving, this person can look up directions, respond to messages, and answer phone calls so that you can stay focused on the road.

Use Bluetooth

Travel with a set of Bluetooth headphones easily accessible. If you need to make a call, use only one of the bluetooth headphones to talk so that you can still listen for other cars or emergency vehicles on the roads. Make sure these headphones are already paired to your phone before you take off, so that you can connect to the call using just one push of a button or the voice-controlled system in your smartphone (such as Siri).

Use a Hands Free Device

Use a good quality car mount to keep your phone at eye level if you need to see a GPS. There are so many great car mounts that safely mount your phone close to you so that you won’t need to reach far to easily see your directions or swipe to answer a phone call.

Turn on Do Not Disturb

Consider turning on the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode on your phone before you begin driving. On iPhones, this will temporarily turn off notifications for incoming phone calls, emails, or text messages while you are driving. You can edit the settings to allow a few emergency contacts to call you while driving, but it prevents your eyes from being distracted by an influx of notifications.

This holiday season, stay safe on the roads by driving hands-free. If you are involved in an accident in the state of Georgia, be sure to call Lamar Law Office immediately to talk to our car accident lawyers about what your next steps should be.

Lamar Law Office is committed helping people to receive the compensation they deserve in the event of a car accident in Atlanta, GA. To contact our office, call (678) 819-5200.