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Georgia may strengthen distracted driving laws

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2021 | Uncategorized

The use of personal electronic devices is universal but illegal when you are driving.  The Georgia legislature is considering bills to strengthen its distracted driving laws and eliminate a loophole that does not apply to other speeding and traffic violations.

Hand-Free Georgia Act

This law was enacted in 2018 and prohibits drivers from handling cellphones and other wireless devices while they are driving. It also contained a unique and generous forgiveness provision allowing drivers to show the court that they intended to comply with the law in the future. Judges were required to dismiss charges against first offenders who brought a receipt for a dash mount or other hands-free device to their court hearing.

There is no conclusive data on the use of that provision across the state. However, motorists took advantage of this provision thousands of times in Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

House Bill 247

This bill would eliminate that break. It would also modify distracted driving fines. The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee approved this measure on Feb. 17.

A first offense now costs up to $50 but judges can impose lower fines. If the new law is enacted, there would be a flat $50 fine for a first offense.

The other penalties for a first offense still include the placement of one point on licenses. A second offense carries a $100 fine and imposes two points. A third violation costs $150 and imposes three points on a license. Drivers who accumulate 15 points within 24 months lose their license.

House Bill 165

If passed, this bill would allow motorists to mount a phone or other electronic device on their windshield if it did not block their view. Currently, it is illegal to attach anything except clear stickers to a windshield. The House was considering that measure on Feb. 18.

Even minor traffic violates can have long-term effects such as adding points to your driving record. An attorney can help you seek a reasonable resolution of traffic offenses.