As of July 2018, Georgia joined many other states by enacting a hands-free law that prohibits drivers from handling phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel. In addition to facing increasingly steep fines for multiple offenses, those violating the law may receive points against their driving record.
Between July 2018 and June 2020, Georgia State Patrol officers issued over 49,000 citations to drivers using handheld devices. While some Georgians are still getting used to the new restrictions, statistics seem to show that traffic fatalities have decreased since the law’s enactment.
Data indicates a downward trend in traffic deaths
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the total number of traffic fatalities in Georgia dropped by 2.3% between 2017 and 2018, decreasing from 1,540 to 1,504 deaths. The number of passenger vehicle fatalities also declined in 2018, dropping by 6% from the previous year.
Officials hope that continued public outreach about the dangers of distracted driving combined with enforcement of the new law will continue to lower the number of collisions on Georgia roads.
Why do mobile devices pose such a risk?
Whether reading or sending a text message or checking for social media updates, picking up a handheld device while driving may impact a motorist’s ability to react safely to traffic changes and road hazards physically, visually and mentally.
Not only is the driver’s attention distracted, he or she may only have one hand on the wheel, and with eyes off the road, there may be a much greater risk of a potentially deadly collision.