Hands free law implemented

Georgia’s new hands-free law went into effect July 1, and many local police agencies are warning drivers to take this law seriously.

According to DeKalb County Police, there will be no grace period to adjust to the law. “It’s very important for DeKalb residents to take the law seriously because they will be stopped and ticketed,” said DeKalb County Police Department spokesperson Shiera Campbell. “There is no grace period in DeKalb County. Officers will be enforcing the new law the day it goes into effect.”

Georgia drivers are no longer allowed to have a phone in their hand or touching any part of their body while driving. Drivers are also not allowed to write, read or send text messages, check social media content or any other internet data while on the road.

Drivers cannot watch or record videos while operating a vehicle.

Some say the law is designed to prevent distracted driving accidents. According to teensafe.com, approximately 25 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities are caused by distracted driving.

“Hopefully more people will focus on driving and not cellphones,” said Sgt. John Bender with Decatur Police Department.

Decatur Police Department launched a social media contest on Facebook to help residents prepare for the new law, giving away several hands-free devices. Contestants were required to pledge their commitment to driving hands-free.

“I pledge to be hands free. I have to drive to work in midtown Atlanta. Not only that, I drive my kids around for their basketball events whether it’s near or far,” said Vonche Rogers. “I have a son who plays for DHS varsity basketball and he does AAU basketball as well, so it’s also for our safety and the safety of others in my car and on the road.”

Bender said the Decatur police department wanted to raise awareness about the new law before it went into effect, and noted it may be difficult for some to adjust to the new law.

“People are attached to their devices. They are a way of life for us,” Bender said. “We do everything from talking to ordering birthday presents on them. It’s hard to put it down. However, for the safety of yourself and the public, it’s a must.”

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