It was in July that Georgia lawmakers passed the Hands-Free Georgia Act, which prevented drivers from holding a phone while driving. Although drivers can still use certain features of their phone, such as listening to a playlist or using a GPS, they can only do so while using a hands-free device. Now after data has been compiled pertaining to traffic deaths and citations, it seems the new law is working.
According to TrueMotion, the organization behind the study, driving while using a cellphone dropped to 15.4 percent of total driving time. It was a substantial decrease of 21 percent. TrueMotion obtained the data by tracking drivers that allowed their cellphone usage to be tracked electronically while their vehicle was in motion.
Data from the Georgia State Patrol also showed the law had some effect. State troopers issued more than twice the amount of tickets at the end of 2018 than they did at the beginning of the year before the law took effect. The Georgia Department of Transportation also revealed data that showed 1,515 people died in traffic accidents around the state in 2018. That was a drop of 2.2 percent from 2017.
“It is unfortunate that we needed a law before we saw a drop in fatalities and traffic accidents,” says Michael Warshauer of Warshauer Law Group. “However, any move towards reducing that number is a positive thing. Hopefully, more drivers will realize that there is nothing on their phone more important than what is going on right in front of their vehicle.”
In Georgia, more drivers seem to be aware of this since the new law. According to a survey done by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in early January 45 percent of Georgians said that they were aware of the law and that they obeyed it at all times. Another 40 percent said they were aware of the law, but only followed it most of the time.
That number has been climbing throughout the year, too. In early April, AAA conducted their own study that showed 77 percent of Georgians were aware of the law.