Bob Meloche
Safety Manager
Eisenhower Army Medical Center

The Georgia Distracted Driving Bill goes into effect July 1, requiring drivers to use hands-free technology when using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. Georgia's new bill closely mimics federal regulations regarding the use of hand-held electronic devices on federal facilities such as military bases. The following details what is prohibited, and what is allowed.

• Holding or supporting, with any part of the body, a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device (for example, a mobile phone or iPod type device).

• Watching a video or movie other than watching data related to the navigation of your vehicle (i.e., your mapping app or GPS screen)

• Recording a video

• Writing, sending or reading any text-based communication, including a text message, instant message, e-mail or internet data while holding your device

• Using a GPS system or mapping app

• Speaking or texting while using hands-free technology

• Using an earpiece to talk on the phone

• Wearing and using a smart watch

• Using radios, CB radios, CB radio hybrids, commercial two-way radios, subscription-based emergency communication devices, prescribed medical devices, amateur or ham radios and "in-vehicle security, navigation or remote diagnostics" systems

Drivers may handle an electronic device while driving, if they are: reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, a crime or delinquent act or a hazardous road condition. Drivers may also use their hands if lawfully parked. ("Lawfully" means off or beside the road in an area open to parking, not at a stop light/stop sign.)

Police, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, ambulance drivers, other first responders, and utility employees or contractors responding to a utility emergency are exempt from the hands-free requirement if they're performing official duties.