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Officials remind drivers that new hands-free law takes effect on July 1
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According to a news release from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, on July 1, 2018 the new Hands-Free Georgia Act that “prohibits drivers from having a phone or stand-alone electronic device in their hand or touching any part of their body” will officially take effect with no grace period for enforcement. (Photo by Alexandre Boucher on Unsplash)

Starting this July, Georgia drivers will have one less distraction when cruising down the road and it isn’t a chatty backseat driver or someone’s poor taste in music.

According to a news release from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, on July 1, 2018 the new Hands-Free Georgia Act that “prohibits drivers from having a phone or stand-alone electronic device in their hand or touching any part of their body” will officially take effect with no grace period for enforcement.

“It’s become a habit we don’t think twice about since we have been talking on our phones while driving for more than three decades, and it is going to take time for all of us to stop automatically reaching for the phone when it rings,” said Robert Hydrick, communication director for the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. “If you want to talk on your phone or use GPS while driving, now is the time to implement those measures so hands-free will become the instinctive thing to do.”

According to the release, under the new law, making phone calls, using GPS and steaming music are still allowed, provided drivers use hands-free devices and aren’t touching their phones in the process.

“We want everyone to know you can listen to your music through your phone provided you turn on that app before you get on the road,” Hydrick said in the release. “Whether it is listening to music, making a phone call or finding the best route on your GPS, we want everyone to remember keeping your focus on what is happening on the road is your top priority every time you are behind the wheel.”

The release states that under the new law drivers are not required to purchase a “device or holder” for their phones, but the GOHS recommends drivers who plan on using their phones while traveling consider getting one.

The release also adds that the law does not contain any grace period for law enforcement and states that citations will be issued starting on July 1.

“Remember, when we are all paying attention on the road, it will reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries, and that is what the Hands-Free Georgia law is all about," Hydrick said.

More information on the Hands-Free Georgia Act can be found at www.headsupgeorgia.com.