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Georgia's hands-free law now in effect

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) - You can no longer use your cell phone while driving. The hands-free law is in effect for Georgia drivers.

Columbia County Deputy Gary Owens says this law will save people lives coming in and out of the state. 

"Distractive driving is nationwide," said Deputy Owens. "If you're distracted while you're driving a motor vehicle, you can cause an accident depending on the distraction. Nine times out of 10 it's probably going to be your cell phone."

The first of July is here, and Georgians will be driving hands free from the use of cell phones.

The law will is supposed to be more strict than Georgia's current texting and driving law. 

"The biggest thing is to make sure people get home to their destination safely," explained the traffic division deputy. "By making people go hands-free, it will make them a little bit safer going down the road and maybe pay more attention.

But what happens if you're passing through from a state without a hands-free-law; like next door neighbor South Carolina? 

"The people coming from other states are still going to be susceptible to distractive driving," said Deputy Owens.

The Columbia County Sheriff's' Office goal is to educate drivers passing through about the risk they put themselves in when using their cellphones.

Deputy Owens says drivers who live out of state should be hands-free but, well get a warning if pulled over.

"if you're driving through Georgia, you should already have a hands free device," said Owens. "You can put your phone on speaker and lay it on the seat next to you. As long as if your body does not support the device, then you should be good."

Columbia County Sheriffs' Office encourages all drivers, no matter where you're coming from, to practice safe driving. 

"It takes you about three seconds to answer your cell phone," explained Deputy Owens. "Imagine doing that, not thinking while driving down the road."

Deputy Owens says their goal is not to hand out tickets but, to make sure you and those driving around you, get to where you're going alive.  


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