Has Georgia’s Hands-Free Law Reduced Distracted Driving?

marietta auto accident attorney

While people sometimes assume that distracted driving only refers to talking on a cell phone or sending or reading text messages, the definition is actually much broader than that. Anything that takes the driver’s attention away from safe operation of the vehicle for even a second is considered distracted driving.

Common examples include reaching to change the radio dial, eating, operating a GPS system, and turning to talk to passengers in the car. However, it has been the experience of the Marietta auto accident attorney at Morrison & Hughes that texting is the most serious type of distraction of all.

Texting and Driving Don’t Mix

Reading or sending a text message while operating a motor vehicle takes the driver’s eyes and attention off the road for at least five seconds. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) compares driving a vehicle at 55 miles per hour while sending or reading a text to driving with closed eyes for the full length of a football field. Sadly, the organization also reports that distracted driving caused 3,166 fatalities in 2017.

How Georgia’s Hands-Free Law Has Improved Public Safety

In May 2018, Governor Nathan Deal passed House Bill 673 to make it illegal for drivers to handle a smartphone or any other type of electronic device while operating their vehicle. The law went into effect on July 1, 2018. It was the first legislation to address distracted driving since 2010 when Georgia lawmakers passed legislation to ban texting and driving.

The new law still allows drivers to text or talk on a phone as long as they do so using hands-free technology. Families of distracted driving victims and others pushed for the new legislation after an alarming increase in fatalities on Georgia roads over the past few years.

Our Marietta auto accident attorney has monitored the impact of this new law and feels pleased with the results so far. Traffic fatalities in 2018 compared to 2017 showed a decrease of 3.4 percent. This trend is continuing into 2019 with an even greater decline since the bill did not pass until halfway through last year. It’s little consolation to those who have already lost loved ones to distracted driving, but a small start in the right direction to making these practices both illegal and socially unacceptable.

Contact a Marietta Auto Accident Attorney if You Have Been the Victim of a Distracted Driver

Whether it’s drinking, speeding, or driving distracted, some people will continue to do as they wish behind the wheel regardless of the law. Perhaps you know this first-hand because a distracted driver struck your vehicle and caused you to suffer significant injuries. If so, we are sorry that happened to you.

We also want you to know that you have the right to hire a Marietta auto accident attorney to investigate the crash and file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. However, you must do so within two years of the date of the car accident to meet the statute of limitations in Georgia. You may contact us by calling 404-800-5297 or completing this free consultation request form.