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New Georgia Law Bans Almost All Handheld Cellphone & Electronic Device Use While Driving

  • By: Robert Giannini, Esq.
  • Published: May 29, 2018
New Georgia Law Bans Almost All Handheld Cellphone & Electronic Device Use While Driving

Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 673 which will eliminate almost all handheld use of cellphones and other electronic devices while driving. Effective July 1, 2018 it will be illegal for a driver to hold a cellphone or similar device while driving. And, for the purposes of this law, driving includes being stopped at a traffic light or stop-sign. But, it will still be lawful to talk on a cellphone while using hands-free technology or an earpiece.

Why this law was passed

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of fatal auto accidents in the United States. The most common distraction in these auto accidents is cell phones. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day, nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in auto accidents caused by distracted driving. Unfortunately, a large number of drivers continue to use their cell phones and other devices while driving, putting themselves and others at risk. Let’s take a look at just how big a problem distracted driving really is.

Statistics about Cell Phone Use and Auto Accidents

The most recent data available is for 2015, in which there were a total of 2,443,000 auto accident injuries across the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015, distracted driving caused:

  • 3,477 deaths
  • 391,000 injuries
  • 3,196 fatal accidents

Further statistics indicated that:

  • One estimate says that 660,000 drivers across the U.S. used an electronic device while driving every day. Many experts suspect this number is far higher.
  • 14 percent of fatal accidents caused by distracted driving involved cell phone use.
  • Of all the auto accidents occurring in 2015, 10 percent involved cell phones.
  • Between 2014 and 2015, the total number of fatal auto accidents increased by 7.2 percent.

As this data shows, cell phones are one of the most dangerous distractions for drivers and are commonly a factor in accidents involving distracted driving. The CDC warns that teenagers and young adults are most at risk for using cell phones while driving. In fact, in 2015, 42 percent of high schoolers reported sending an email or text message while driving. Students with a history of frequently texting while driving were also found to be:

  • More likely to ride with peers who have been drinking.
  • More likely to drive after consuming alcohol.
  • Less likely to wear a seat belt.

The Police are Expected to Actively Enforce the New Law.

The Georgia State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies have made it quite clear that they plan on aggressively enforcing the new cellphone law. If you use a handheld cellphone to make calls, text, or to just check the time of day while driving, you can expect to be pulled over and issued a citation.

To find out more about Georgia’s cell phone use laws and how these laws apply to your legal rights, contact the Giannini Law Office at (770) 637-5505.

Robert Giannini, Esq.

About the Author Attorney Robert “Bob” Giannini handles criminal defense and personal injury
cases throughout the metro Atlanta and north Georgia area. With almost two
decades of experience, Bob has the knowledge and experience...Read More