Distracted driving is a growing problem on Georgia roadways. Statistics reveal that drivers who use handheld devices while driving are 23 times more likely to cause an accident. Additionally, distracted driving causes roughly 1.6 million auto accidents per year, resulting in an estimated 6,000 fatalities.
In order to tackle this problem, Georgia lawmakers have followed 15 other states with a bill that could drastically reduce distracted driving, according to Savannah Now.
The revised HB 673 is only a signature away
A revised version of House Bill 673, authored by Rep. John Carson, R- northeast Cobb, will prohibit the use of cellphones while driving – unless the cellphone is paired with a hands-free device such as Bluetooth.
The House recently approved the bill, which is now at the desk of Governor Nathan Deal (who previously showed support for the bill) – ready to be signed.
Previously, the bill contained a provision that rendered first-time offenders “not guilty” if they were able to provide a receipt indicating that they possessed a hands-free device after being cited. However, that provision has been removed from the revised bill, in order to prevent repeat offenders from abusing it.
Georgia currently stands among five states with the largest rise (34 percent) in fatal auto accidents from 2014 to 2016. Distracted driving is believed to be one of the leading culprits behind this rise in fatal accidents. Legislators hope the revised HB 673 will bring that percentage down – comparable to the 16-percent reduction in 13 of the 15 states that have passed similar bills.
If signed by Governor Deal, the bill will give law enforcement officers the authority to fine those who violate this law a minimum of $300. This means that drivers will be prohibited from:
- Sending or receiving texts
- Holding any handheld device such as a smartphone, tablet or Ipod
- Watching or recording videos
- Taking pictures
- Leaving their seated position to retrieve a handheld device
What you can do to make Georgia roads safer
Luckily, modern technology allows drivers to utilize many functions of handheld devices without taking their eyes off the road. Some cellphones allow users to make calls and send and receive text messages through voice activation. The same goes for many built-in infotainment systems.
If your device isn’t entirely up-to-date, you can still make and receive phone calls through headsets and other Bluetooth devices. Otherwise, your best bet is to put down the device, keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
In the event that you or a loved one has been injured by a crash caused by a distracted driver, you should seek the legal advocacy of an experienced auto accident attorney at Jon R. Hawk,