Within one year of passing the Hands-Free Georgia Act, nearly 25,000 citations were issued to motorists pulled over for distracted driving. As reported by Valdosta Today, law enforcement officials issued an average of 68 tickets for each day of the Act’s first year as law. While this number reflects the tickets that were reportedly issued by state-level officials, local cities and municipalities may have actually issued many more citations for distracted driving.
The Hands-Free Georgia Act prohibits motorists from using or touching a handheld mobile phone while they are driving. This includes holding a cell phone up to an ear to carry on a conversation. A driver may also receive a ticket for sending or reading a text message, social media content or emails.
Prior to cell phones, actions considered distractions included eating, changing the radio station and putting on makeup while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. The increase of car accidents combined with the popularity of mobile devices, however, resulted in studies showing a connection between driving and using mobile phones. To help prevent traffic accidents, many states created new laws banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving.
Car accident insurance claims have reportedly gone down since the Hands-Free Georgia Act went into effect, but there are still many motorists who persist in using cell phones while operating a vehicle. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 70% of fatal car accidents are caused by unsafe driving conditions. Distractions by mobile phones, speeding and driving while impaired contribute to the high number of fatalities. While four people on average die per day in the Peach State, many others suffer catastrophic lifelong injuries.