County adds policy prohibiting employees from using electronics while driving
Published 8:02 pm Wednesday, June 20, 2018
In a little over a week, Georgia’s new hands free driving bill will take effect state wide, and now Troup County has something on its books as well.
The Troup County Board of Commissioners approved a policy on Tuesday that will prohibit all county employees driving county vehicles from using stand-alone electronic devices while driving. The policy is designed to mirror the new state law while ensuring that the information is also in the employee handbook.
“Under House Bill 673 that will go into effect July 1, it requires that drivers no longer hold a physical phone in their hands, so Ms. [Valerie] Heard and I worked together to draft a policy that pretty well follows the law,” Assistant County Manager Eric Mosley said. “It just makes it an actual policy within our policy and procedure handbook. It doesn’t vary from the law in any way, but makes it our own policy that ensures that employees follow and move forward with it.”
Georgia already prohibits anyone 18 and under with a learner’s permit from using a wireless device while driving, and adults are already prohibited from texting and driving. The new law — and new policy — will additionally prohibit recording videos, watching movies, sending emails, using apps and other communication while holding an electronic device and generally supporting the device with any portion of your body while operating a motor vehicle.
“Any sort of electronic device you are not allowed to hold in your hands,” Mosley said.
Use of hands free technology, GPS systems, contact with emergency personnel and use while legally parked will still be legal and allowed under both state law and the county policy. Any employee who receives a citation for failing to follow the policy will receive disciplinary action, which may include termination. The commissioners did ask for a few clarifications on the law itself, but otherwise offered no comment.
“Luckily, most new vehicles do come with hands free devices, and I would assume that you will see that more and more as we move forward,” Mosley said.
Other items approved on Tuesday include:
The commission approved an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget in or to accept $356 from the State of Georgia to offset losses in local sales tax revenue resulting from federal spending requirements.
The county approved a reimbursable grant for the Coweta Circuit Mental Health Court for $272,651.80 and a match of $30,294.64. The grant funds the Troup, Carroll and Meriwether divisions of the program, and each county is responsible for its portion of the grant. The City of LaGrange will provide the matching funds for the Troup County division.
The commission approved a grant award and match for the Troup County Felony Drug Court. The awarded amount is $151,012, with a match of $16,779. The grant is reimbursable, and the matching funds will be paid through the DATE fund.
The commission approved a grant award and match for the Troup County DUI/Drug Court. The awarded amount is $105,291, with a match of $11,699. The grant is reimbursable, and the matching funds will come from lab fees.
The commission approved a lift of the hiring freeze in order to allow the Troup County Road Department to fill the budgeted, part-time position of administrative clerk.