At the beginning of this July, Georgia’s Hands-Free Law will have been in effect for a year. Lawmakers and law enforcement hoped that passing the law would decrease the rate of distracted driving across the state. And as we draw near the first anniversary of the law, it is essential to see how well the law is working.
There are fewer fatalities on the road
Distracted driving is a concerning epidemic across the country. It has become the number one cause of accidents, injuries and fatalities on the road. That is one of the primary reasons that Georgia—as well as many other states—passed Hands-Free laws.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) reported that more than 1,500 people died in car accidents on Georgia roads in 2018. And according to WSB-TV News, the rate of fatalities this year is significantly lower than that.
Law enforcement and GDOT claim that Hands-Free has contributed to reducing that number.
But cellphone use is still high
It is good news that there are fewer traffic fatalities. However, that does not necessarily mean that Georgia drivers are putting away their cellphones behind the wheel. After the law passed last year, early studies stated that distracted driving rates were lower. But as time passed, the rate picked up again.
GDOT says police still see many drivers looking down at their phones. And some communities have issued hundreds of tickets since last year. The city of Macon alone issued 113 tickets and hundreds of warnings to drivers who violated the new law.
And the summer months only increase the chances of distracted driving. So, it is even more critical for drivers to:
- Stay alert and drive defensively
- Keep both hands on the wheel
- Keep their eyes on the road
Even when drivers take their eyes off of the road for a few seconds to look down at their phone or send a text, the chances of a fatal accident increase exponentially. Regardless of the consequences, it is important for drivers to put down their phones and help improve safety for everyone on Georgia’s roads.