Many drivers like to wear headphones to listen to music, take calls, or consume other forms of entertainment. However, this raises the question: can you wear headphones while driving in Georgia? Technically, most drivers have the legal right to wear one headphone while operating a vehicle in the state of Georgia.
Reach out to Kaine Law to learn more about Georgia’s regulations on headphone usage behind the wheel. You can also learn more about the penalties for driving while using two headphones.
Georgia’s Hands-Free Law and Headphone Usage
In 2018, Georgia passed a Hands-Free Law regarding cell phone usage by drivers. Under the regulations associated with this law, drivers are not allowed to use any part of their body to support a mobile device while driving.
Technically, drivers can still make phone calls while driving under this law. However, they are only allowed to use their phone with the use of:
- An earpiece
- A headphone
- An electronic watch
- A speakerphone
- A hands-free audio system
Note the specific wording used in these regulations. Individuals may only use one headphone to speak on the phone while driving, not two.
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Georgia Only Allows Headphone Usage for Calls
Georgia only allows you to wear one headphone at a time while driving a car. The state further restricts headphone usage by only permitting drivers to use these devices for the purpose of taking a call in the car.
Drivers are not permitted to use the headphones while listening to music, podcasts, or for other purposes while driving. Keep these facts in mind while operating your vehicle in Georgia.
Reasons Behind Georgia’s Headphone Laws
Why does the state of Georgia have so many regulations associated with headphone usage? Listening to music or other forms of entertainment through headphones can prove distracting, resulting in accidents, injuries, and property damage.
Drivers who wear two headphones also have a harder time hearing sirens, horns, and other noises designed to help you operate your vehicle in a safe manner. Georgia aims to reduce the odds of accidents by requiring drivers to limit their headphone usage while behind the wheel.
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Legal Repercussions for Wearing Headphones in Georgia
Drivers who wear two headphones while operating a vehicle – or who listen to music or other forms of entertainment through a single headphone – may receive a citation or ticket from a police officer. Police officers can stop you while driving simply because they notice you wearing headphones.
A first-time offense for violating the Hands-Free law can lead to fines of $50 and a single point on a driver’s license. A second conviction increases the fine to $100 and adds two points to a driver’s license. Drivers with additional convictions face fines of $150 and three points on their license.
Drivers may face additional penalties if they caused an accident while wearing headphones in Georgia. Penalties could include restitution payments to other drivers hurt in the accident, fines, and points on their license.
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Additional Restrictions on Cellphone Usage in Georgia
Georgia’s Hands-Free law provides information about headphone usage while driving. The state also restricts other activities involving mobile devices. These restrictions apply to:
Drivers cannot read or send text messages while driving. However, the state provides an exception for drivers who use a text converter to change written messages to audible form. Additionally, drivers can use text-based communication for the purposes of navigation.
Georgia prohibits drivers from writing or sending emails while behind the wheel. Drivers cannot engage with social media sites or other websites while driving.
The law restricts the usage of video media while driving. However, Georgia allows drivers to watch videos for navigational purposes. Drivers should not record videos while operating a video, though they may use a continuously recording dash cam.
Exceptions to Georgia’s Rules on Communication in Vehicles
Georgia’s Hands-Free law does come with several exceptions. Individuals may pick up their phone and make a call while driving if they need to report:
- Traffic crashes
- Hazardous conditions on the road
- Medical emergencies
- Criminal activities
Additionally, utility service workers and first responders can use their mobile devices in the course of their work. You may also use your phone as you wish if you have lawfully parked your vehicle. Note that Georgia does not consider a vehicle stopped at a traffic signal as lawfully parked.
Speak to a Lawyer About Distracted Driving Accidents in Georgia
You can learn more about your legal options if another driver struck you while distracted by a mobile device. A car accident lawyer at Kaine Law can review your situation and provide you with advice about moving forward with a legal claim. In some cases, you may receive compensation for your losses.
You can reach out to us online to discuss the specific details of your claim.