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All you need to know about the Ga. distracted driving bill

House Bill 673 -- the Georgia Hands-Free Act that passed in the Senate Tuesday night -- requires drivers to use hands-free technology and prohibit anyone from handling their phone while driving/Danielle Apolinar (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- House Bill 673 -- the Georgia Hands-Free Act that passed in the Senate Tuesday night -- requires drivers to use hands-free technology and prohibit anyone from handling their phone while driving.

But what exactly does that mean? Basically, here are the illegal acts according to the bill:

  • Holding or supporting a wireless telecommunications device
  • Writing, sending, reading text or email while holding your device
  • Reaching for a device if you’re no longer seated
  • Watching or recording a video

And here are the legal acts:

  • Using a GPS or mapping system
  • Sending a text through hands-free technology
  • Speaking on the phone

Bibb County Captain Brad Wolfe says the bill will make it easier to enforce distracted driving cases.

Before, officers required significant proof to prove it was a text message -- drivers could easily claim they were changing music or looking for a contact number. Now, if the bill becomes a law, just holding the device will be enough to prove distraction.

The bill is soon headed to Governor Nathan Deal for his signature.

As soon as the law passes, Wolfe says deputies will get a legal update and be instructed to give drivers a grace period -- likely a 30-day warning period -- letting people know the new law. Then it will be enforced after that.

"Our society is so attached to our electronic devices, but when you're driving, that's truly what you need to be focusing on," Wolfe said. "Anything that can help replace behavior to put that device down is a good thing."

Major George Foster with the Forsyth PD says he sees distracted driving all the time and has avoided many accidents thanks to his driving courses.

"It will help us do our job," he said. "It will help us limit the amount of accidents we deal with."

Foster -- who has been in the business for 38 years -- says he's thankful for the work done at the Capitol.

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