I was the first attorney in Georgia to be awarded punitive damages against a motorist who used his cell phone at the time he caused a car wreck. This jury verdict was back in 2002 in DeKalb County, Georgia. The law regarding distracted drivers has changed since that time; mainly, due to numerous and horrific collisions by distracted drivers that have resulted in death and serious injuries. I have over 11 blogs regarding distracted drivers.
Today marks a milestone in curbing and preventing motorists from using cell phones while operating vehicles as Governor Deal has signed HB 673 that had been passed by both the House and Senate. Effective July 1st, the State of Georgia has outlawed drivers from operating a motor vehicle while: 1) physically holding or supporting a cell phone; 2) writing, reading or sending any text or communication from a cell phone or stand alone device; 3) watching a video or movie on a cell phone or stand alone device; 4) recording or broadcasting a video from a cell phone or stand alone device. Additionally, truckers are prohibited from: 1) using more than a single button to make or stop a call on a wireless device; and 2) reaching for a wireless or stand alone device that would result in the trucker getting out of his car seat or removing his/her seat belt.
However, motorists are allowed to: 1) send written communications by a voice activated device; 2) use GPS or similar device for navigation; 3) report an accident, hazard, criminal or emergency situation; and 4) use a cell phone or stand alone device while parked. Moreover, utility workers, firefighters, police, ambulance personnel, etc. can use a cell phone or stand alone device while responding to an emergency while on the job.