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Has Georgia’s ‘Hands Free’ Law Created Safer Driving?


Published in Car Accidents,Distracted Driving,truck accident on February 18, 2019.

Macon car accident lawyer offices have dealt recently with a new type of traffic regulation passed last year. The Georgia bill HB673, enforced as of July 1, 2018, makes operating a motor vehicle while texting or talking without a hands-free device a punishable offense. Drivers who violate this law are subject to fines and points on their licenses, which may lead to revocation. Macon Car Accident Attorney Nelson & Smith can potentially help individuals receiving these citations avoid the most negative consequences like losing the ability to drive to work or school.


The Georgia state awareness campaign, “Heads UP Georgia” applauds the passage of HB673. The group says the law is necessary and has proven effective in other states, claiming in a press release that “15 states that have passed hands-free driving laws saw a 16 percent decrease in traffic fatalities in the two years after the law was passed. In addition, traffic fatalities were reduced even further in subsequent years.”


Although using smartphones to text or check email (anything that involves holding the device during use) is now prohibited, other potential distractions like smartwatches and using GPS tracking are still allowed. In addition, using the phone is allowed in specific instances, like reporting a traffic incident or calling emergency services when necessary. What’s legal or not can be difficult to discern. An experienced Macon car crash lawyer can help clarify this issue.


Whether hands-free laws prevent a significant number of road accidents is unclear from the data. Macon car crash lawyer Nelson & Smith has not observed a dramatic drop in incidents. The National Institutes of Health found in a published study that “drivers with hands-free cell phone technologies available to them still choose to use handheld cell phones to converse or complete cell phone visual-manual tasks for a noteworthy portion of interactions.” Even if drivers are using hands-free devices, the National Safety Council has said that “more than 30 studies show hands-free devices are no safer than handheld as the brain remains distracted by the cell phone conversation.” Many other studies also point to the unproven effectiveness of these laws.”


Although these case studies are inconclusive, the state police of Georgia are actively issuing citations for drivers in violation of the new hands-free requirement. If you received a citation, contact Macon car accident lawyer Nelson & Smith. If you receive a citation where you could lose your license, enlist the services of a Macon car accident attorney.  They have the needed experience with the Georgia driving laws to keep your driving options open.