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Georgia hands-free law effective July 1

Savannah Reams: Greene Publishing, Inc.

Mark your calendars! Georgia's newly-mandated hands-free law will go into effect beginning Sunday, July 1. This law restricts the driver of any vehicle from holding a cell phone except to report emergencies or while in a motor vehicle that is lawfully parked.

Drivers may not use more than one button to answer or use a mobile phone. In addition, drivers may not reach for a device if the action requires unfastening a seat belt or standing up. GPS and voice-to-text features as well as making and receiving phone calls hands-free is allowed. Single-ear headphones and Bluetooth pieces are permitted.

Penalties for violation are as follows: first-time offenders will have one point added to their license and a $50 fine; second offense offenders will receive two points and a $100 fine; and the third offense mandates, a three-point addition and a $150 fine.

Sergeant First Class Tracy Tabb, of Post #31, warns Georgia citizens and visitors to please familiarize themselves with the law, as it will be enforced very soon. According to SFC Tabb, in the month of May, troopers investigated 111 traffic crashes, resulting in 44 injuries and 2 fatalities. There were 827 citations, 29 DUI arrests, 121 seatbelt violation citations, 33 child restraint violation citations, 24 distracted driving citations and 394 speeding citations. Post #31 troopers also made 16 drug arrests.

Remember, when you cross that border, make sure your hands are free!

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