Hands-Free Law in Georgia Leads to Nearly 50,000 Tickets
GEORGIA- Augustachronicle.com writes that in the first two years of the Georgia hands-free law taking effect, officers in the state have cited almost 50,000 people for violations of the law. In July of 2018, drivers were informed that police would fine those motorists who failed to put their smartphones down when driving their vehicles.*
At the end of June of 2020, the law had been used to issue 49,535 citations. The vast majority of such citations were made because motorists were holding their electronic devices while driving.
The law does permit the hands-free use of phones for calls and GPS. However, no texting is permitted. A violation of the law can lead to a $50 fine. For first time offenders, there is also one point added to their license. The fine and the points double in the event of a second violation, and triple for a third violation of the law.
Some legislators attempted to increase the fine for violating the law, but the bill did not pass.
According to officers in the state, some drivers have become accustomed to using Bluetooth technology and are abiding by the hands-free requirements. Of course, other motorists are just getting better at hiding their use of phones from officers. Overall, though, police believe that compliance has increased since the law first went into effect.
South Carolina legislators are still trying to pass a similar ban on hand-held devices. However, the coronavirus led to delays in the passing of that bill.
Hands-free laws are on the books in half of all states and in the District of Columbia. More states are working to implement such laws as a way to improve safety.
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