Law to Help Prevent Distracted Driving Also Applies to Golf Carts 

By Lynn Lewis - lynnl@landings.org 
Communications Manager 

As you travel the island this summer in your golf cart, don’t forget about Georgia’s law to prevent distracted driving. 

The Landings Association confirmed with the Chatham County Police Department that this law applies to golf carts as well as other motorized vehicles. It mandates that drivers can’t hold cell phones or place cell phones on their laps while driving. Texting and watching videos also is prohibited. Only voice-controlled technology is allowed to make or receive calls in your car or golf cart in Georgia. 

Under the law, the fines for driving while holding a phone are $50 for a first offense within 24 months, $100 for a second offense within 24 months, and $150 for a third offense within 24 months. First offenders who appear before a court and produce a handsfree device or proof of purchase of such device that would allow them to comply with the law in the future will not be guilty of violating this law. However, the court will require the person to affirm they have not previously utilized this privilege. Click House Bill 673 to view the bill in its entirety. 

Following is a list of helpful tips for navigating this new law offered by Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Heads Up Georgia. 

  • A driver cannot have a phone in their hand or use any part of their body to support their phone. Drivers can only use their phones to make or receive phone calls by using speakerphone, earpiece, wireless headphone, or if the phone is connected to the vehicle or an electronic watch. GPS navigation devices are allowed. 

  • Headsets and earpieces can only be worn for communication purposes and not for listening to music or other entertainment. 

  • A driver may not send or read any text-based communications unless using voice-based communication that automatically converts messages from written text or is being used for navigation or GPS. 

  • A driver may not write, send, or read any text messages, e-mails, social media, or internet data content. 

  • A driver may not watch a video unless it is for navigation. 

  • A driver may not record a video (continuously running dash cams are exempt). 

Music streaming apps can be used provided the driver activates and programs them when they are parked. Drivers cannot touch their phones to do anything to their music apps when they are on the road. Music streaming apps that include video also are not allowed since drivers cannot watch videos when on the road. Drivers can listen to and program music streaming apps that are connected to and controlled through their vehicle’s radio. 

Exceptions to the law are as follows: 

  • Reporting a traffic crash, medical emergency, fire, criminal activity, or hazardous road conditions. 

  • An employee or contractor of a utility service provider acting within the scope of their employment while responding to a utility emergency. 

  • A first responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS) during the performance of their official duties. 

  • When in a lawfully parked vehicle -- this DOES NOT include vehicles stopped for traffic signals and stop signs on the public roadway.