New distracted driving law proposed; citations across Georgia will change

(WTVM) - Drivers in the state of Georgia will soon see big changes when it comes to what you can and cannot do while behind the wheel.

The changes result from a bill awaiting the signature of Governor Nathan Deal.

In Columbus, police can already cite you for distracted driving but if this new law goes into effect, the role your hands and your cell phone plays when you're behind the wheel have a huge part in whether or not you'll be getting a ticket for distracted driving in Georgia.

“You just can't touch it," says Sergeant Fred Carnes with the Columbus Police Motor Squad.
Approved House Bill 673, if signed into law, would make it much easier for law enforcement to cite drivers in Georgia for distracted driving.
“It will simplify for law enforcement what they can and can't do," says Carnes.
The bill specifically lays out what drivers in Georgia cannot do while behind the wheel.

“If you have a cell phone, it has to be a hands-free phone. You can’t have it in your hands. Otherwise, you're violating the law when operating the device in a vehicle," says Carnes.

In Columbus, recent distracted driving stings have left dozens of drivers with citations.
“We were looking for drivers who were approaching intersections who were physically manipulating their cell phones with either one or both hands," says Carnes.
The citations are often due to their cellphones.
“It has to be hands-free or have it on some type of holder on the dash," says Carnes.
The bill allows the use of blue tooth and hands-free cell phone usage.
Drivers are not allowed to maneuver their GPS system while driving.
“If you're trying to do something with the GPS, you are in violation," says Carnes.
Drivers in Columbus say they agree with the stricter proposed regulations.

“I think its a good idea," says Charlotte Burton. “You shouldn't be on your phone when you're driving.”

"We anticipate this will go into effect July 1 when most others go into effect that the Governor signs off on," says Carnes.

Citations for this new bill are listed as a $50 fine for your first citation and $100 for your second.
CPD says they’ll give out warnings around the time the law begins to be enforced but are urging the drivers to avoid distracted driving so you never have to see those blue lights in your rearview mirror.

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