Is Georgia’s Hands-Free Law Tough Enough?
ATLANTA, GA. – August 29, 2018 (atlanta.curbed.com) An online article at atlanta.curbed.com examines the new Hands-Free Law in Georgia and whether it is tough enough to actually deter cell phone use by drivers.*
The Hands-Free Georgia Act went into effect in July, making it illegal for drivers to use any handheld electronic devices. Since the beginning of its enforcement, nearly 1,000 citations have been issued to drivers violating the law. With the first citation, people will be fined $50. The fine moves up to $100 and $150 with the second and third violations and adds points onto the drivers’ licenses.
However, after three violations, the punishment doesn’t increase. This might be creating a somewhat apathetic reaction to the new law from drivers. In a recent survey of 1,200 Georgians by AAA, 98 percent of participants said they were aware of the new law. But 75 percent of participants said they had still seen people using cell phones while driving, and 60 percent said they had still seen people texting while driving. In other words, drivers in Georgia know about the law but are not following it.
Georgia State Patrol says despite the large number of citations issued so far (which was actually lower than Troopers expected), Troopers anticipate a continued presence of rule-breakers, drivers who are not following the Hands-Free Act. Troopers and local law enforcement will continue issuing citations as stated within the law, unless something changes at the legislative level.
Georgia became the 17th state in the U.S. to adopt a hands-free law. The U.S. Department of Transportation says these types of laws have contributed to a decrease in motor vehicle accidents during a two-year period to the tune of more than 15 percent.
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