Ann Cain

Catoosa County Human Resources Director Ann Cain discusses the language in the county policy regarding Georgia’s new “Hands Free Law” during the July 17 Board of Commissioner’s meeting. / Adam Cook

Now that Georgia’s new “Hands Free Law” has been in effect for nearly a month, some companies have adjusted their employee handbooks to accommodate the change, including Catoosa County government.

During the July 17 Board of Commissioner’s meeting, county Human Resources Director Ann Cain asked the board for approval on a language change in the county policy to reflect the new standards.

“I’m here requesting policy change to the personnel handbook to include the verbiage consistent with the new Hands Free Georgia Act,” Cain said. “It’s currently already in our policy, however, I want the verbiage to be consistent with that actual act itself.”

Cain explained that not holding a cell phone or device is something county employees have already been practicing while in county vehicles, but that the policy should reflect the standards of the law.

“It was already in policy for our employees, but obviously now it’s a violation of law. So it’s not just policy, but a law too,” she said.

Cain added that employees were urged to start using Bluetooth technology before the law went into effect.

“So we’re going to get all the county vehicles to be hands-free?” Commissioner Bobby Winters asked.

“Yes,” Cain replied. “They’ll all have stands in there so they can put their phones in them, and then they’ll have Bluetooth connections.”

The board unanimously approved the change, which was discussed by each department leading up to the law being implemented.

“Every department…we had a meeting before the law actually passed, and they were instructed to go ahead and start the Bluetooth process at that time,” Cain explained.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at acook@npco.com.