In approximately the last six months, the Georgia Hands-Free Act has resulted in 8,389 citations — more than double the 3,827 tickets issued for cell-phone related violations in the first six months of 2018, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Georgia State Patrol was on particular alert during the holiday season, issuing over 2,000 citations in December alone.
The new law, which prohibits drivers from handling their cell phones while behind the wheel, went into effect on July 1. It also bans motorists from watching videos on cell phones and electronic devices.
Under the former law, motorists were prohibited from texting while driving, but they could make phone calls. However, officers found it challenging to issue a ticket because it was hard to distinguish when a driver holding a phone was texting or talking, according to the report.
The more recent hands free measure is easier to enforce and appears to be working. While citations are up, according to preliminary figures provided by the state's Department of Transportation, traffic fatalities are down by approximately 7% in 2018, reports the Journal-Constitution.
From 2014-2016, fatalities in Georgia were on the rise with 1,561 lost lives in 2016.
But the negative trend is showing signs of reversal. In 2017 fatalities declined slightly to 1,549 and have dropped to 1,444 in 2018, according to preliminary data.