GA Hands Free Law makes impact on young drivers

Georgia News

The complete hands-free texting and calling law is now in effect in Georgia, for everyone. That includes teen drivers.  

Previously, those under 18 were not allowed to use the phone in any way. Now teens are treated the same as adults, by state law. But that’s not the only law many teens have to live by.

“Even if she doesn’t pick it up, it’s a distraction. So I think it’s a good idea to have a…across board, just put the phone away where you can’t reach for it, look for it, glance at it,” say Pam Stewart.

Stewart has a hard line with her 17-year-old, Allison. That hands free isn’t enough.  

“Where are you going to put your phone?” she asks her daughter.

“In the glove box.”

That means she can’t call, but she’s really not concerned.

“Teenagers we never really call each other on the phone,” says Allison. “We’re always texting. And text messages can wait when you’re in the car.”

She and other teens we talked to said the number one reason they wanted to pick up their phones?

“I would play music from my phone using the aux cord and put my songs on shuffle and when a song I didn’t like came on, I’d be tempted to change it and that’s a big distraction.”

Even though technically the new law gives teens more leeway, Georgia State Patrol says the new law is actually far more enforceable.

“Quite honestly we can’t drive down the road and say they’re only 17, we need to make a stop,” says Captain Mark Perry with the Georgia State Patrol. “So that takes it out of our hands to prove it when we go to court.  Now if we put them on the same playing field, if it’s in the hand, that’s the violation.”

And parents like that too.

“She’s aware she could get pulled over,” says Pam. “It’s scarier for the teenagers to think than oh my mom may catch me on the phone when I’m driving.”

“It’s hard to tell my teenager not to do it if I put her in the car with me and she sees me doing it,” says Cap. Perry.

Something she won’t see, now that hands free is the law. 

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