The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Georgia Considers Handheld Phone Ban for Drivers

January 15, 2018

Photo by Intel Free Press/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo by Intel Free Press/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.

Georgia state legislators are considering a newly introduced bill that would ban the use of handheld phones while driving and also raise the distracted-driving fine from $150 to as much as $900 for repeat offenders.

Additionally, the legislation would raise the point penalty for a distracted driving offense — from one point to up to four points for repeat offenders. Any driver assessed 15 points in a 24-month period would lose his or her driver’s license.

Current state law already prohibits texting while driving. But law enforcement agencies in Georgia have complained the law is virtually unenforceable because officers typically have no way of distinguishing between driver texting and dialing.

The new legislation comes on the heels of the Dec. 31 release of a House study committee report on distracted driving. That study found that traffic crashes in the state rose 36% from 2014 to 2016. Those collisions also accounted for a 34% increase in road fatalities during that period.

The overall spike in crashes was largely attributed to increases in three specific types of collisions, according to the report: rear-end crashes, single-car crashes, and crashes by drivers 15 to 25 years old.

“Public safety personnel state this is clearly indicative of driver inattention,” the report noted.

Drivers in rural areas in the state are also at a higher risk, according to the report.

“A driver in rural Georgia is twice as likely to be in a fatal distracted driving accident as an urban area driver (due to speeds, undivided highways, and more distance to emergency/trauma care centers),” the report said.

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  1. 1. Mark Brisson [ January 15, 2018 @ 08:10AM ]

    Texting is not just a "teen" problem. There are millions of employees in company cars and fleet vehicles who try to "multi-task" behind the wheel.

    While many states, like Georgia, seek to lower distracted driving by increasing penalties, fees and regulations, there is another option. There are anti-texting apps, like AT&T DriveMode which is FREE!

    One area that is rarely discussed is that each state has thousands of government vehicles that inspectors, regulators and the agricultural department use as fleet vehicles, but they do not have the technology to diminish distracted driving. I would love to see one state lead by example and use a program, like FleetMode, to block texts, redirect incoming phone calls, and impede all other apps in the State vehicles. If we want our state roads to be safer, let’s start by making our state vehicles safer.

  2. 2. Thomas Kincaid [ January 16, 2018 @ 09:02AM ]

    With safer cars, highway deaths are up by 1/3 in Georgia where I live over the past 2 years. A phone call or a text can wait. Pull over before you kill my grand daughter.


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