Mapillary phone apps soon to be illegal in Georgia (USA)

If I’m reading a new law correctly, using a dashcam app on a cell phone will soon be illegal in Georgia.

Section 4

( c ) While operating a motor vehicle on any highway of this state, no individual shall:

(4) Record or broadcast a video on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone
electronic device; provided that such prohibition shall not apply to electronic devices
used for the sole purpose of continuously recording or broadcasting video within or
outside of the motor vehicle.

The problem lies in the definitions of “wireless telecommunications device” and “stand-alone electronic device” earlier in the new law. Dedicated dashcams appear to fall under the “electronic device” definition, which are allowed (“such prohibition shall not apply to electronic devices used for the sole purpose of continuously recording or broadcasting video within or outside of the motor vehicle”).

I’ll see if I can get my legiscritter to introduce a modification to allow a wireless telecommunications device to be legal as long as it is being used solely for video.

Although if I read this correctly…a dashcam that does still photos and not video would be illegal, too.

As far as I can make out, it’s up for a bit of interpretation (that is, it could be legally argued in a couple of ways), but as long as you are not holding the device, you are not touching the device, and you are not recording video actively (this is the iffy part), you’re fine. A dashcam seems to be legal as it is used for the purpose of continuously recording (for safety/legal issues). It’s different than choosing to record a video on a dashcam by manipulating the device (pushing buttons), which I think is the difference here.

Taking photos should be fine, because I don’t think that falls under any category, as long as you are not manipulating the device while driving.

As the purpose of the new legislation is to cut down on distraction, I would think that the intent is not to prevent hands-free recording started/stopped while parked.

But it’s a little vague.

And hey, as I read it, it’s legal to stare at your phone indefinitely if the GPS navigation is displaying.

Yes, I’ve thought through what you’re describing. That the law makes a very specific distinction between two different categories (“wireless telecommunications device” and “stand-alone electronic device”) is what I think is the biggest problem.

Yes, there is enough vagueness in the law that a skilled lawyer could work with. But, lawyers are expensive.

And yes, I think you’re right that the intent is not to prevent hands-free recording, but there are certain specific details that a trial judge would simply accept at face value without bothering to think about the vague parts. A law enforcement officer often won’t care, either. But, I’ll talk to a lieutenant I know with my area police about it, and see what they’re telling the officers here.

It only talks about video. I see no mention of photos. Also it allows “continuously recording”, which means you are not interacting with the camera while driving. So I see no issues. Even for video done in a safe manner.

Jack, I suggest you change your name.
Can you imagine the newspaper headings ?

@tryl Yes, that would appear to be a loophole in the law. However, from how I’ve seen the legal system operate, that won’t stop a cop from giving you a ticket anyway, and a trial judge from convicting you, unless you have a good lawyer. The rationale would be that because there is a specific exemption for video on a “stand-alone electronic device” means that the legislature intended to prohibit anything else.

@filipc :smiley:

is that the full wording of the document?
Is there nothing distinguishing between hand-held recording & devices secured to the dash or windscreen?

I still think it is ok, because no matter which media you are recording, it is a “continuously recording”, i.e. you are not operating the camera manually.

But if there is a real risk to get a fine or have to file a case, I would say stay out of it. One thing is to win the case, but it can be expensive to do so.

My suggestion is to follow dash cam forums. They must have the same problem and exist in much greater numbers than us. A lot of them are having their camera for legal reasons and must be assumed to be more interested in law than the average user.

As I see on television American policemen are really brutal and deserve their nickname.

@DaveF No. I included a link to the entire bill in my original post.

@tryl “no individual shall Record or broadcast a video on a wireless telecommunications device” That specifically means a cell phone. That it doesn’t mention photos is a distinction that would be overlooked in court.

@filipc No, not really.

I had a chance to talk to 2 police officers in the county I live in, and got 2 different answers. :tired_face:

The corporal seemed to think that as long as the phone was mounted on the passenger side out of my reach, then it might be OK. BUT, if I were pulled over, it would really be to the discretion of the officer involved.

The lieutenant acknowledged that under the wording of the law, technically taking still photos wasn’t illegal, but that it definitely violated the spirit of the law. He also said that my scenario wasn’t something that had been considered by legal counsel, so he didn’t have an official answer for me, but he did think that I would likely be cited. But, he said he’d also try to get the county attorney to look into it (which I strongly suspect will fall along the “spirit of the law” side).

Meh. While I completely understand the intention of the General Assembly, I think they went slightly too far in the law, and were too specific in certain places. I’m definitely going to spend some time working on a (hopefully) well-crafted letter to my legiscritters asking for certain changes.

What exactly did they try to stop? In my interpretation there is no issue at all, because the camera is not operated during driving and does not interfere with driving.

As tryl asked, what even is the intent of that paragraph? JackTheRipper, you said “I completely understand the intention of the General Assembly” - could you please explain what is that attempting to improve? From reading of it, it seems so unreasonable and vague, it must be a mistaken attempt at something.