Georgia Cracks Down on Distracted Driving After Implementing “Hands-Free Georgia Act”
ATLANTA, GA – An online news article published by www.11alive.com indicates that Georgia has substantially cracked down on distracted driving, obtaining twice as many convictions this year as compared to last year.
In July of 2018, Georgia passed the Hands-Free Georgia Act which establishes enhanced penalties for distracted driving. Following the passage of the law, Georgia swiftly began enforcing the new distracted driving penalties. In total, Georgia has obtained more than 19,000 distracted driving convictions since passage of the Hands-Free Act.
Breakdown of Distracted Driving Convictions by County
Some Georgia counties demonstrated their strong desire to crack down on distracted driving, while others have not been as aggressive. The following largest counties in Georgia obtained the greatest number of distracted driving convictions following passage of the Hands-Free Act:
- Jackson County– 5.72 convictions per 1,000 residents;
- Gwinnett County– 5.4 convictions per 1,000 residents;
- Liberty County– 4.84 convictions per 1,000 residents;
- Walker County– 4.64 convictions per 1,000 residents; and
- Hall County– 4.27 convictions per 1,000 residents.
The following large counties in Georgia obtained the fewest number of distracted driving convictions following passage of the Hands-Free Act:
- Barrow County– -.25 convictions per 1,000 residents;
- DeKalb County– .50 convictions per 1,000 residents;
- Forsyth County– .62 convictions per 1,000 residents;
- Bibb County– .62 convictions per 1,000 residents;
- Richmond County– -.99 convictions per 1,000 residents;
- Cobb County– -.99 convictions per 1,000 residents; and
- Fulton County– -1 convictions per 1,000 residents.
Evidence Suggests a Correlation Between the Number of Distracted Driving Convictions and the Prevalence of Deadly Accidents
In 2017, before the passage of Georgia’s Hands-Free Act, Gwinnett County was already aggressive in enforcing distracted driving laws. According to 2017 reports from the Georgia Department of Driver Services, residents in Gwinnett County were 256 percent more likely to be convicted of distracted driving and 72 percent less likely to be involved in a deadly accident related to distracted driving as compared to residents in Fulton County.
With the passage of the new Hands-Free Act, more deadly accidents may be prevented, especially if drivers begin to compare distracted driving to failing to wear a seatbelt or driving under the influence. Georgia can reasses the success of the Hands-Free Law in July of this year, as the state will have a years-worth of data to review.
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