Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has signed a bill into law making it illegal to hold a phone while operating a vehicle.
The new law, called the “Hands-Free Georgia Act”, also known as HB 673, will go into effect on July 1, 2018. The law will make it illegal to operate a phone with any part of the body, with fines for the first infraction starting at $50 and going up with each violation.
While Georgia already had a law against texting and driving on the books, police had a tough time enforcing the law because it did allow drivers to make phone calls while driving. This made it hard to determine what a driver was actually doing with his or her device.
Instead of signing the bill at the state capitol, Deal instead signed it in Statesboro. The location is significant because it’s the home of Georgia Southern University, where five nursing students who were killed in a 2015 crash with an allegedly distracted truck driver went to school. The families of the nursing students were on hand for the signing.
Deal said, “Don’t view this as a hostile act by the state government. It is an act to protect the safety of anyone.”