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Gov. Deal signs new hands-free distracted driving bill into law

Governor Deal signs distracted driving bill.

ATLANTA – Gov. Nathan Deal has signed the hands-free distracted driving bill into law.
Deal traveled all over the state to sign various bills into law on Wednesday, May 2. The hands-free law will impact every driver in this state.
“This is our effort to make sure that these tragedies are not going to occur needlessly again,” Deal said in a bill signing ceremony in Statesboro.
Starting July 1, you will no longer be able to hold your phone in your hand while driving. You will have to use some kind of hands-free device.
Deal chose to sign the bill in Statesboro, because it’s home to Georgia Southern University. That’s where five nursing students killed in a highway crash went to school.
The families of those victims were on hand for the bill signing as well. Deal began to get emotional as he signed the bill.
“Its aim is to prevent the types of tragic and avoidable deaths that occurred on that stretch of I-16 on that horrible day in April of 2015,” Deal said. “It’s time, and this legislation is Georgia’s way of saying, ‘Today is the day that we say no more.’”
Starting July 1, you will no longer be able to hold your phone in your hand while driving. You will have to use some kind of hands-free device.
The new law says drivers can text if they are using technology that converts voice to text messages.
Drivers are also allowed to have a phone in their hand to make emergency calls to report a traffic crash, criminal activity, fire, medical emergency or hazardous road conditions.
The bill came about after a Marietta lawmaker wanted to see why car insurance rates were so high in Georgia. He found out it’s because crashes and fatalities are way up. And when he asked why, he was told it’s because of cellphones.
Authorities said there will be a 90-day grace period before they will start handing out tickets for using your phone while driving.
The first offense for drivers will be a $50 ticket and one point on your driving record.