A Quick Reminder of Georgia’s Hands-Free Law
This broadly worded legislation is designed to prohibit holding or using a large number of devices while driving. The act also applies to devices that are resting on a lap, dashboard or secured around the ears or shoulders. Any communication or data storage device may be included under the Hands-Free Act, ensuring that the law accounts for emerging technologies.
There are so many devices that drivers may use while driving, that narrowly defined legislation would not have been fit-for-purpose. The main priority for law enforcement officers is reducing the potential for drivers becoming distracted on our roads. For drivers, understanding that the act is primarily focused on the use of unnecessary devices, and not necessarily the function of a device, may help reduce the temptation to plead ignorance of the law.
How infractions are handled will typically depend on the driver’s record. Fines and “points” may lead to drivers having their license revoked for repeat violations. However, the law does not apply to legally parked vehicles, or drivers who are reporting an incident to police or emergency services. Contrary to what many drivers believe, a vehicle is not legally parked when stopped at a stop sign or in non-moving traffic.
The act does not permit drivers to continuously use certain devices that were started when a vehicle was legally parked. Examples of this may include watching or recording video while driving. A driver may use hands-free to use certain devices like cell phones. The key takeaway is that no part of the body should be used to aid in these communications, other than use of the spoken word.
Hands-Free Act & Personal Injury Claims
Distracted driving is a major contributing factor in road accidents in Georgia and across the country. The Hands-Free Act may help courts to decide who was at-fault in an accident, if one driver was using a device in breach of the law at the time of the crash. A personal injury lawyer can provide consultation if your accident involved a driver who wasn’t using hands-free to control any type of device that comes within the scope of the Hands-Free act.
It only takes a few seconds for a distracted driver to get into an accident. Looking away from the road or using hands to control a device other than the vehicle are two of the major issues with devices that don’t have hands-free features. This is especially true of devices that are designed for text communication. Reading and then replying to a text message can take a minute or more, which is plenty of time to miss potential hazards on the road.
Records of Hands-Free Violations
Most modern communication devices, such as cell phones, laptops and even video recorders, log user actions for diagnostic purposes. In many cases, these records can be accessed in order to determine if a driver was using a device in contravention of the Hands-Free Act, although such measures are typically only necessary in cases where accidents resulted in serious injury or fatalities.
The fact remains, however, that technology is evolving in such a way that at-fault individuals cannot so easily deny liability. In the case of road accidents, access to time-stamped records of device use immediately prior to an accident can provide invaluable evidence of wrongdoing. The Hands-Free Act is just one way in which legislators can save lives on the roads. The deterrent alone may lead to a large percentage of drivers thinking twice before sending that text message or making that call without hands-free.
Call the Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown today for legal advice. We can provide a free consultation to discuss your Hands-Free lawsuit.
Posted on behalf of the Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown