driving while texting

It is now illegal to hold your cell phone or place your cell phone on your lap while driving in Georgia. The Georgia General Assembly on Thursday approved an amended House Bill 673 that requires drivers to use "hands-free" technology while driving. But hands-free technology is not as clear cut as it sounds.

HB 673 prevents drivers from holding or supporting, with any part of the body, a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device.

The new bill means drivers can't hold cell phones or place cell phones on their laps while driving. Using the speakerphone on their devices is also outlawed since the driver must initiate the call with their hands.

Only voice-controlled technology is allowed to make or receive calls in your car in Georgia.

Under the amended version of the bill, the fines for driving while holding a phone would be $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense and $150 for a third offense.

The only way around the new law, if you don't have a hands-free device, is to have a passenger initiate the call or text for you (as shown in the stock photo above).

If you are ticketed under the new law, you must produce, in court, a receipt or proof that your hands-free device is voice-controlled.

Hands-free devices include Bluetooth headsets, phones that sync with your car's speakers, hands-free car kits (HFCK), and personal navigation devices (PND), according to AJC.com.

House Bill 673 also prohibits:

  • Writing, sending or reading any text-based communication, including a text message, instant message, e-mail or internet data while holding your device.
  • Reaching for a device if it means you’re no longer in a seated, driving position or properly restrained by a seat belt.
  • Watching a video or movie other than watching data related to the navigation of your vehicle (i.e., your mapping app or GPS screen).
  • Recording a video.
  • Texting while driving is already banned under Georgia law. But police say the existing texting ban is unenforceable because it's hard to determine whether a driver is texting or dialing on the phone.

    Georgia joins 14 other states (plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands) that have laws prohibiting holding cell phones while driving.

    Lawmakers say HB 673, which Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign, will help prevent deaths on Georgia roads. More than 1,500 drivers lost their lives last year while distracted on cell phones.

    Stock photo by Peathegee Inc / Getty Images

    • Mischelle

      Good. Hard to enforce this, but hopefully it'll help.

    • Kemi

      Good cos teen drivers using cellphones account to a large number of deadly accidents. It’s going to be challenging enforcing it but it’s a good step.

    • justlooking

      MD passed this bill a couple of years ago.

    • MoniquetheGeek

      California passed this law (or similar) few years back. Also, phones must be mounted if you're using it (for navigation or something).
      Having this law hasn't stopped people from texting or having their phones in their hands while driving tho...

    • Renee26

      I'm happy to sit behind tints

    • Ni Ni

      I'm still holding out hope for a law to be passed that dogs have to be restrained while driving. I want a black lawmaker to introduce the bill (remember the loud music law) Some people drive around with them in their lap and it"s distraction as well. A lady once pulled out in front of me, but i don't think she saw me because the cute little doggy was in the passenger side with his head out the window just feeling the breeze . If i hadn't braked, he would be flying out the window?.

    • Jack Blakk

      Next will be texting while walking!

    • Soda

      Which is what I'm doing right now!

    • Jack Blakk

      1st offence eating a liverwurst sandwich!

    • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

      Or some of their dumb a$$es hold the damn dog in their arms while they are trying to drive and that prevents them from seeing clearly because the dog is usually sticking its head out of the driver's window.

      White people claim that they love their dogs but they are very careless with them.

    • Ni Ni

      Just dont fall into the hole or into the fountain ?, remember that video?

    • xenaD

      Good for them! Recently, I’ve become scared of being on the road!!!! Idk I had a night mare bout a month ago but I’m bout to start driving again MTA in NYC sucks a** in the mornings lol! I’m late everyday

    • Tausha T. W.

      Why can't they record video?

      We have laws like this in my state. They are not enforced. You know who they are gonna pull over...

    • BingBangBoom

      Phones don't kill people it's the reckless people that do. Just like how they say about guns. Just like eating while driving and putting makeup on while driving. Drivers tend to get distracted in some form of way. Even Bob the red light Booger picker. I like having the option of answering my phone. HAPPY EASTER WEEKEND EVERYONE!

    • MoniquetheGeek

      I heard somewhere not too long ago where a city was introducing distracted walker laws. Can't use phone while in a cross walk.

    • Tequila Mockingbird


    • MoniquetheGeek

      I say this all time! Phones are the only thing distracting. I should be able to hold my phone if folk can hold their dog! The dog can spaz out at any moment causing the driver to lose control.

    • SpiceGirl

      is this for the cops as well??

    • Jack Blakk

      Yeah, you know get you hooked then penalize you for it.

    • Tequila Mockingbird

      Yea. Y are you gonna pull them over and give them a ticket?

    • SpiceGirl

      ummm whats good for the goose SHOULD BE good for the gander....and IF I had the power to do so......hell yea!!

    • Ni Ni

      So true!

    • WutizstillHERE!

      Yeaaaahhhh!!! No more dumb asses in the passing lane texting! No more folks bobbing and weaving trying to text! Now just to note people when a new bill they are super stringent on them so just be aware...

    • WutizstillHERE!

      This is why I am purchasing a dash cam..

    • WutizstillHERE!

      In the military they already enforce this with them. I called my son once and ask why he didn't answer my text he said because they aren't allowed to walk and text. When we face time also he has to be stationary.

    • Jethro

      Georgia's finally catching up with the rest of the country. Is it still illegal to own porn while there are strip clubs in every neighborhood?

    • ?Royalty?

      Yup. My sister's little dog attacked her hair while she was driving once. I have no idea why, but I was dying laughing while trying to pull him off her head.???

    • RickSanchez1

      Nope. Of course Police are free to use their phones anyway they like, as well as carry larger guns with more capacity...

    • RickSanchez1

      I'm very curious if the "no video recording" extends to "inside the vehicle". Never assume it means only that handheld phone.

    • SpiceGirl

      everyday on my way to work, there is this "DUCK OFF" <--- side street were a cop goes and just park his car.....and every time I see the car back there...i always say....shouldn't he be out patrolling and not taking a nap.... If I did that on the job...I wouldn't have a job.....I say that to say again....what is good for the goose , should be good for the gander?? (Even tho we ALL know about the BLUE WALL)

    • KISSmyENTIREass


    • KISSmyENTIREass

      Wait tho really? Now? Thought this been happen, but I live in Florida so we been had this... BTW I wreck 2 cars over 10 years ago texting so this bill very important ????

    • tintin

      Surprised it has taken so long to pass this. Texting and driving is bad. I've come close to crashing and finally I'm learning. It's not worth your life or someone elses

    • Sally Wright McLinn

      Good law. However -- it's gonna catch a lot of black (men) unfairly and I can see a rise in police shootings.

    • Jamal Warner

      I was thinking the same thing. This is another tool that will be used to pull over black people, which will lead to more profiling.

    • Karen Brady


    • Karen Brady

      my azz just chuckled at this image.

    • Queen B

      Yep got a ticket in Union City on 3/1 lol

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    • Traci404

      Its going to affect WOMEN MORE

    • Traci404

      You cant drive with out being on your phone?

    • Traci404

      No more folks trying to text at the light

    • MRiGOThim

      bout time they caught up...its been like that in Dallas for a min now:P

    • Jamal Warner

      That was not my point. My point is that this will be used to justify profiling people unjustly.

    • Traci404

      You see the game getting ready to be played.
      ACT accordingly

      Just another reason to pull folks over. ABSOLUTELY