Students adapt to new phone law

Georgia's 'Hands-Free Driving" legislation went into effect on July 1

Whitney Sikes, left, and Elizabeth Sellers

Gazebo Photo by Caroline Horn and Taylor Swan

Whitney Sikes, left, and Elizabeth Sellers

Every time junior Ellen Adams gets in her car, she worries about the possibility of being pulled over.

She keeps her cell phone far away from her. Even having one in your lap can get you stopped under a  new Georgia law that went into effect on July 1. Georgia is the 19th state to enforce the “Hands-Free Driving” law.

“I always have to make whoever is with me take my phone from my lap and put it away if we see a cop,” Ellen said. “It scares me to even touch my phone at a red light or even sitting in a parking lot.” 

Some students are unfamiliar with the use of bluetooth technology in the car. Junior Sophie Denisar said the new law influenced her to learn how to use her bluetooth.

Senior Drake Miscall does not have bluetooth in her vehicle and believes she is at a disadvantage under the law.

I don’t have bluetooth in my car, so I have to pick up my phone when someone calls me, especially if it is an important call from my parents. I can’t just not answer. It puts me in danger of getting a ticket when I can’t help that I don’t have bluetooth in my car like many other people.”

— Drake Miscall

“I don’t have bluetooth in my car, so I have to pick up my phone when someone calls me, especially if it is an important call from my parents,” Drake said. “I can’t just not answer. It puts me in danger of getting a ticket when I can’t help that I don’t have bluetooth in my car like many other people.”

Senior Preston Brewer views the law as  “good idea.” It’s a deterrent to those who might be inclined to use their phones behind the wheel. Still, others will choose to disregard the law.

“People are still going to do it,” Preston said. “But hopefully the number of car crashes will be reduced.”

Although the law was intended to be helpful,  junior Elizabeth Sellers sees herself as “a big phone talker” and is not happy with the law. She said “texting should be against the law, but not talking on the phone.”

Similarly, junior Lillie Sweet Strickland is not a fan of the law. She considers it “ridiculous having to be fearful of just accepting a call with the tap of the screen, worried you’ll be pulled over.”

Senior Hadley Neal believes the law does more harm than good.

“I’ve never really been that bad about being on my phone while I’m driving,” Hadley said. “But I’ve noticed now that the law is in effect, people are working harder trying to hide that they are using their phone, which takes more attention off the road and is more dangerous.”