As of July 2018, it is illegal for motorists in Georgia to hold or support any stand-alone electronic or wireless communication devices while driving, according to USA Today. The law prohibits writing, sending and reading communications on cellphones, tablets, laptops and any similar devices. It also outlaws recording, broadcasting and watching videos while driving.
However, the law only applies to people who are actively operating a vehicle. This means drivers can use these devices while lawfully parked.
For the purposes of the law, stand-alone devices include any device that can store video or audio data that the user can retrieve on demand. Wireless communication devices include any device that can receive or initiate communication, data, or information. This applies to cellphones, computers, GPS receivers and personal digital assistants. The law only permits the use of hands-free electronic devices, such as those that utilize Bluetooth or other voice-operated technologies.
According to AJC.com, drivers who violate this rule face fines and points on their driving records:
- First offense: $50 fine and one point
- Second offense: $100 and two points
- Third offense: $150 and three points
Motorists who accumulate 15 points within 24 months lose their license.
Impact of the law
As of last summer, the State Patrol has issued over 22,000 citations for distracted driving. The police in Atlanta have issued over 17,000. Fatal car accidents have fallen by 2.2%. Similarly, car insurance claims for property damage and collisions are declining. These early numbers suggest an early success in keeping Georgia roads safer.