If you are an approved CAP Driver, then you know that CAPR 77-1, states that the driver shall not use hand-held cellular phones or texting devices while operating Corporate Owned Vehicles. This regulation has been in effect since 2013! Now the State of Georgia has passed a law to enforce this practice while we are operating any vehicle.
So that everyone understands the new law, we have provided the below description on the law.
House Bill 673 also known as the “Hands Free Law” was passed by the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal. The Hands Free Law will take effect on July 1, 2018. It is important to know what the law states and how it will be enforced.
- A driver cannot have a phone in their hand or use any part of their body to support their phone. Drivers can only use their phones to make or receive phone calls by using speakerphone, earpiece, wireless headphone, phone is connected to vehicle or an electronic watch. GPS navigation devices are allowed.
- Headsets and earpieces can only be worn for communication purposes and not for listening to music or other entertainment.
- A driver may not send or read any text-based communication unless using voice-based communication that automatically converts message to a written text or is being used for navigation or GPS.
- A driver may not write, send or read any text messages, e-mails, social media or internet data content.
- A driver may not watch a video unless it is for navigation.
- A driver may not record a video (continuously running dash cams are exempt).
- Music streaming apps can be used provided the driver activates and programs them when they are parked. Drivers cannot touch their phones to do anything to their music apps when they are on the road.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE LAW ARE AS FOLLOWS:
- Reporting a traffic crash, medical emergency, fire, criminal activity or hazardous road conditions.
- A first responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS) during the performance of their official duties.
- When in a lawfully parked vehicle—this DOES NOT include vehicles stopped for traffic signals and stop signs on the public roadway.
When the Hands-Free law takes effect July 1, the Georgia Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement have the option to issue warnings for violations as part of the effort to educate and to help motorists adapt to the new law. However, citations can and will be issued starting July 1 for any violation of the Hands-Free Law, including those where the violation involves a traffic crash. There is not a 90-day grace period provision in the Hands-Free Law.
Violation of this law will result in a citation and does lead to points on your Driving History (MVR) that could impact renewal of your CAP Driver’s License.
Remember, this law goes into effect JULY 1, 2018. Please make sure you adhere to this new law and help keep our highways safe from Distracted Drivers.