Georgia’s new distracted driving law has had a long road through the Legislature this year, although the bill has moved on to the Senate on Crossover day, with the blessing of all Six of members of the Georgia House of Representatives representing Douglas County.
The current law, deemed “unenforceable” by many in Law Enforcement brought about the change. The new law provides increased penalties for actions involving distracted driving and the relevant portion reads as follows:
While operating a motor vehicle on any highway of this state, no individual shall:
(1) Physically hold or support, with any part of his or her body, a wireless
telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device;
(2) Reach for a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device in such a manner that requires the driver to no longer be:
(A) In a seated driving position; or
(B) Properly restrained by a safety belt;
(3) Write, send, or read any text based communication, including but not limited to a text
message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data on a wireless telecommunications
device or stand-alone electronic device; provided, however, that such prohibition shall
not apply to:
A voice based communication which is automatically converted by such device to
be sent as a message in a written form; or
(B) The use of such device for navigation of such vehicle or for global positioning
(4) Watch a video or movie on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone
electronic device other than watching data related to the navigation of such vehicle; or
(5) Record a video on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic
device; provided that such prohibition shall not apply to electronic devices used for the
sole purpose of continuously recording the view through a motor vehicle’s windshield.
(d) Each violation of this Code section shall constitute a separate offense.
(e) Any person convicted of violating this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor
which shall be punishable with a fine of not less than $300.00.
(f) Subsection (c) of this Code section shall not apply when the prohibited conduct
(1) While reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, an actual or potential
criminal or delinquent act, or road condition which causes an immediate and serious
traffic or safety hazard;
(2) By an employee or contractor of a utility services provider acting within the scope
of his or her employment while responding to a utility emergency;
(3) By a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical services personnel,
ambulance driver, or other similarly employed public safety first responder during the
performance of his or her official duties; or
(4) While in a motor vehicle which is lawfully parked.”
All On Georgia will continue to bring you coverage of how your Legislators voted in Atlanta.