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Driving Tips for Abiding by Georgia’s Hands-Free Law 

What do you do when you are driving to work in Atlanta and you see a call from your boss coming in on your phone? It could be something important. Or you are on your way home from dropping your child off at school in Savannah and you see the school is calling you. Would you consider breaking your state’s laws to pick up the call? 

Almost every state has distracted driving laws and Georgia is one of them. This is because even a momentary lapse in concentration is a leading cause of road accidents. Everyone seems to feel their insurance rates are already pretty high, but being involved in an accident because you were distracted is almost a guarantee you will see a rise in your auto insurance costs.  

Georgia has taken one big step toward reducing distracted driving incidents: The Georgia Hands-Free Law. Keep reading to see how y’all can minimize your exposure to the law while driving. 

Steering Into Safety: Understanding Georgia’s Hands-Free Law 

Officially known as the Hands-Free Georgia Act, House Bill (HB) 673 was passed in May 2018 and signed into law by then-Governor Nathan Deal. Basically, it forbids the use of electronic devices and other distractions in hand while driving. 

That phrase “in hand” is important because drivers may use voice-operated devices with Bluetooth connections to arrange the church potluck or the neighborhood barbecue. If your vehicle is fitted with such devices, you can send and receive phone calls and even deliver voice command text messages while driving. (Of course, it could be argued that such mental actions can be just as distracting as using the devices by hand, but that’s an argument for another day). 

Don’t think you’ve found a loophole by only texting or dialing while stopped at a light or in a traffic jam, either. It’s still illegal to use your devices by hand even while stopped dead in traffic, as long as you’re on a public road. 

Navigating the Legal Landscape 

In Georgia and the rest of the country, the communications technology landscape has changed dramatically and continues to change. The laws have changed, too, to keep up. 

As a motorist, staying current with this particular changing law is critical. Not only will it keep you safer while behind the wheel, but it will also keep you free of penalty points on your record and even the possible costs of rising insurance rates, lawyers, and the state’s legal system. That’s why knowing about and complying with the Georgia Hands-Free Law is so important. 

Happy couple driving with man paying attention and woman is passenger on phone - cheap car insurance in Georgia.

Penalties for Breaking the Hands-Free Rule 

The first time you’re stopped and ticketed for texting and driving or similar “handsy” violations, it will cost you a $50 fine and one point on your Georgia driving record. It’s not the end of the world, but money that could be better spent on buying peaches for that new peach cobbler recipe. 

However, the distracted driving penalty increases with each violation over 24 months. Your second offense within two years will set you back $100 and two penalty points. Keep it up? The third violation can get you a ticket for $150 and three driving record points. 

Remember, 15 penalty points on your record over two years earn you a court appearance and a license suspension. 

The fun and games don’t stop there. Add on lawyer fees, court costs, and needing to get around without a license. Then there’s the fact that, at the very least, your auto insurance will go up with a suspension, and you could even lose your standard policy as a high-risk driver. That means having to get very expensive liability coverage to stay legal. 

Don’t worry just yet, though: One or two Georgia Hands-Free Law tickets generally won’t raise your auto insurance rates. 

How This Regulation Affects Various Motorist Categories 

The penalties are stiff enough if you only use your car to go to work, run errands, or get the kids to and from school and activities. But what if you use your vehicle to earn a living? Then, the possible penalties become even harsher. 

If you’re a commercial truck driver or a rideshare driver, driving violations of any kind can get you fired from your job. And if your license is suspended, so is your career until you can get it back. 

Now, in addition to the lawyer fees and court costs, you need to figure out how to earn a paycheck until you can get legally behind the wheel again. So take special care if you need a vehicle and license in good standing to pay the rent. 

Practical Tips to Stay Compliant on the Road 

It’s not really that challenging to stay compliant with the law. Just follow a few common-sense suggestions. Most new vehicles come with the ability to set up Bluetooth technology, but if you are driving a treasured relic you inherited from your favorite cousin, you can take other steps. 

  • Give your phone and the responsibility of monitoring calls and texts to a passenger. Pass messages along by voice while keeping your attention on the road. 
  • Inform friends and family of your driving plans and let them know you’ll be unavailable by phone while on the road. They can leave text or voice messages, and you’ll get back to them as soon as you end your trip or take an off-road break. 
  • If you’re expecting an important call or emergency update while you’re on the road, make frequent stops at rest areas, service stations, or parking lots to check your messages. Then, return them while sitting stationary off-road. 
  • Buy and install Bluetooth or similar car safety equipment and technology that will enable you to send and receive voice and text communications in compliance with this Georgia distracted driving law. It’s not expensive, and your auto insurance agent can provide you with more information and maybe even steer you (pun intended) to a trusted provider. 

Clarifying Misconceptions about the Law’s Limitations 

Yes, the state of Georgia knows that there are (very limited) situations where cell phone usage by hand is unavoidable and even necessary. That’s why there are common-sense limitations to the Georgia Hands-Free Law. 

For instance, you can report a road accident, ongoing criminal activity, or other emergency situations involving 911 calls without penalty. And the law doesn’t apply if you’re a road worker or otherwise responsible for making or receiving calls as part of your on-road job. 

You should also note that while your Georgia driving record takes a bit of a hit with each transgression, the points melt away over time. Your record will clear up on its own as long as you don’t keep adding violations. 

You may be wondering, “Is texting and driving illegal in Georgia?” Yes. As is any other hand-held device in most situations. You also can’t watch videos or be similarly distracted. 

But if you are ticketed, simply pay the fine and vow to do better in the future. If you do, you’ll help keep the roads safer for yourself, your loved ones, and everyone else in Georgia. 

Get a Free Quote for Affordable Car Insurance in Georgia 

Georgia’s distracted driving laws, like the Hands-Free Law, help keep Georgians safe. Similarly, we can safeguard your wallet or pocketbook by offering affordable financial protection while you and your loved ones are behind the wheel. 

Simply reach out and contact your independent auto insurance agent at Velox Insurance. You’ll find us at (855) 468-3569

You can also go online for a quick quote for auto insurance. Or find a Georgia location near your city or town and schedule a personal meeting at your convenience. 

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