This week is the first week of a law that I thought should have been enacted long ago. If you haven’t heard about it by now, then you definitely haven’t been paying attention … to anything, which is ironic, since that is the reason for the legislation. The Georgia Hands-Free Law means you can’t hold your cellphone with any part of your body, meaning: put it down! If you put your phone down long enough to look around, you’ll notice that there are a lot of people are distracted by their phones. I’ll freely admit: I have been guilty on several occasions.
Once, on a family trip, I was looking at my phone, trying to navigate a music app… I mean the radio, of course. Because, listening to music on an app is horrible. Terrestrial radio is the way to go! Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes… The cruise control was set to about 75, and I only looked down for a matter of seconds. When I looked up, our car was a foot or 2 away from the back of an 18-wheeler that was struggling to climb an interstate incline. How I didn’t hit that truck or flip our SUV when I swerved to avoid the collision still amazes me. The commotion woke all three of our kids from the back of the car, and my heart nearly left my chest. As I resumed composure of our car, tears welled in my eyes. I could have killed our entire family. Someone was looking out for us that day.
Ever since that day, and even before, honestly, I’ve been one of the loudest protesters of texting while driving. Now, Georgia State Patrol is in on it, and they have promised to be vigilant. It’s not just texting, though. You can’t even hold the phone to your ear to talk on the phone. That one is tough. I caught myself answering by hand while driving down Belair Road the very first day. Oops!
It’s really not a huge deal. Voice-to-text apps are a plenty and most new cars come equipped with hands-free Bluetooth, anyway. However, maybe you’re like me and have a taste for the classics. Mine, by the way, is a not-so-mint 1993 Chevrolet Astro. Half the hubcaps have fallen off, and the AC doesn’t work. Impressive, I know. I get stares every time I drive it. In this case, just get a Bluetooth headset or earpiece. You can get them fairly cheap. But you may want to cut your conversation before you walk into the liquor store at 11 p.m. mid-conversation. With the earpiece in, you look like you’re having a conversation with yourself as you peruse the whiskey rack. Then people tend to stare and the guy behind the counter refuses to sell you anything because as he puts it “you’ve clearly had enough.” Not that this has happened to me last weekend or anything.