Use of music streaming, GPS apps clarified under Hands-Free Georgia Act

State Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta) clarified Monday that Georgia drivers may utilize music streaming applications and that there will not be a set enforcement grace period after House Bill 673, the Hands-Free Georgia Act, takes effect on July 1, 2018.  

Rep. Carson sponsored HB 673 during the 2018 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly, and Gov. Nathan Deal recently signed the measure into law to create a hands-free driving law in Georgia.

“According to recent data, we believe the public awareness of this new law is already saving lives,” said Rep. Carson. “We encourage all Georgians to implement the best practices stated in the Hands-Free Georgia Act prior to July 1, 2018, for the safety of all commuters on Georgia’s roadways.”

According to a recent press release from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS), drivers can listen to music streaming apps on their phone while driving under the new law, but they cannot activate their apps or change music through their phone while driving. Music streaming apps that are programmed and controlled through the vehicle’s radio system are allowed. However, music streaming apps that have video are not allowed since the law specifically prohibits drivers from watching videos.

Additionally, the GOHS, the Georgia Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement officers recently reminded Georgia drivers that the law does not contain a 90-day grace period for enforcement. Many officers will be issuing warnings for violations in the first months of the law as part of the education effort, but citations can and will be issued starting July 1 where law enforcement officers believe they are warranted, especially those violations that involve traffic crashes.

This new hands-free driving law will prohibit drivers from holding or supporting a wireless telecommunication device or a stand-alone electronic device while operating a vehicle. Additionally, this measure will maintain the ban on texting, emailing and internet browsing while driving, but will also prohibit watching or recording videos while driving. GPS navigation and voice-to-text features will still be permitted.

Rep. John Carson represents the citizens of District 46, which includes portions of Cherokee and Cobb counties.

Times Courier

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