Marietta Could Adopt Hands-Free Driving Ordinance

January 30, 2018 - 5:49 pm

Earlier this month, Smyrna became the first Georgia city to ban handheld devices for drivers, and Marietta may soon become the second.

Under a proposed ordinance, which is nearly identical to Smyrna’s, operating your phone or other electronic device while driving without using speakerphone or a hands-free accessory could result in a fine of up to $150.

Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin said the idea came directly from Smyrna.

“(Smyrna Mayor) Max Bacon’s office sent me a copy right after they passed it,” Tumlin said. “I sent it to (city attorney) Doug Haynie, and (Councilwoman) Michelle Cooper Kelly asked to put it on the agenda. It just makes sense … It’s applicable in Smyrna, you drive three minutes to Marietta, it just makes sense that it’s applicable here.”

There is already a law against texting and driving in Georgia, but this ordinance takes it a step further.

Under current law, if an officer pulled a driver over for texting and driving but the driver said he was doing something else on the phone, the officer would need to obtain a search warrant to prove he was texting in order to give him a ticket.

The new rule would ban the use of handheld devices while driving for any reason except in the case of emergencies.

It would allow a driver to use one touch or swipe on a phone affixed to the dashboard to activate the hands-free feature.