Georgia law enforcement officers issued nearly 1,000 citations for violations of a texting while driving ban that went into law on July 1.
 - Photo via Intel Free Press/Wikimedia.

Georgia law enforcement officers issued nearly 1,000 citations for violations of a texting while driving ban that went into law on July 1.

Photo via Intel Free Press/Wikimedia.

Georgia law officers wrote 961 tickets in July for motorists who violated the state's new hands-free law, which went into effect on July 1, which was a more than 30% increase from the year before, reports the Augusta Chronicle.

The number of citations increased 32% from the 728 citations for distracted driving issued across the state in July of 2017. 

The Georgia Department of Public Safety says the majority of the citations (588) were given to drivers for holding or supporting a mobile device. In addition, 65 tickets were issued to drivers for texting while driving, and 244 were given to motorists who didn't exercise due care in driving a vehicle, notes the report.

A spokesperson with the Columbia County Sheriff's office's Traffic Division told reporters for WRDW that distracted driving can be dangerous not only on the roadways, but even in parking lots.

The new law is designed to crack down on distracted drivers. It bans the use of a phone while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers are prohibited from having a mobile phone in their hand or using any body part to support the phone. No texting is allowed either. However, drivers can use the GPS and talk on the phone if their vehicle is equipped with a hands-free device or Bluetooth, reports the Chronicle.

Penalties range from $50 to $150, along with one to three points assessed against the driver's license.

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