Georgia May Soon Pass Hands-Free Law
How can Georgia reduce the number of distracted driving crashes?
The Georgia Department of Transportation recently released alarming data showing that the rate of fatal car crashes in the state have risen. In 2014, 1,170 people died in car accidents in Georgia. The following year, that number rose to 1,432. In 2016, it again went up to 1,561. Last year saw a slight decrease, but thus far fatalities for the year put Georgia on track for a deadly year. In response to the spike in fatal accidents, Georgia lawmakers are looking to strengthen the state’s laws concerning distracted driving.
Rep. John Carson of Marietta recently introduced a bill that would make it illegal for drivers to hold their cellphone while driving. A house committee unanimously voted in favor of the bill, while will now go to the House for debate. Under the bill, drivers would only be permitted to talk on their phones via a hands-free device, like a Bluetooth ear piece. Drivers could still use their GPS navigation. Violators of the law would be fined $300 for a first offense, with fines increasing for subsequent violations.
Currently in the state, it is illegal to text while driving, but drivers can still hold their device and dial or speak on the phone. Current laws have been criticized by law enforcement officials because it is difficult to determine whether a driver is texting or just dialing. If Georgia passes its hands-free driving bill, it would bring Georgia in line with 15 other states that have banned hand-held cellphones.
It is hoped that banning the use of hand held devices could save the lives of an estimated 300 people per year. Other states that have banned cell phone use behind the wheel have seen marked decreases in the number of fatal accidents. In addition to saving lives, the law could help Georgians pay less for car insurance. Car insurance rates have risen more in Georgia than in any other state due to the increase in serious crashes. Declining accident rates would equate to a decrease in car insurance premiums statewide.
Distracted driving is a tremendous problem that affects us all. If you have been injured in a suspected distracted driving crash, contact a personal injury lawyer for assistance.
Posted in: Automobile Wrecks