When it comes to traffic fatalities, three factors are almost always to blame according to Deborah Hersman, president of the National Safety Council. Those three factors are speed, alcohol, and distraction. One primary reason for distraction according to many is the rise in smartphones. People are simply paying attention to talking on their phones or texting. A new bill introduced in the state legislature plans to make using a cell phone while driving illegal. However, some say that this is the government overstepping its bounds. My AJC reports on the story.
House Bill 673, if passed, would prohibit people from holding their phones while driving. Talking on phones would still be permissible so long as hands-free and voice-activated technology were utilized.
Some are calling the proposed legislation government overreach. There are already laws against texting while driving and laws prohibiting drivers under the age of 18 and those with learner’s permits from using wireless devices while driving.
Supporters say that such measures will help to curb what has been a rise in fatal accidents. Between 2014 to 2016 – traffic accidents increased by 36%. Nationwide, during the same period, fatalities rose by 14%. 2016 was the deadliest year on the nation’s roadways since 2007, with 40,200 fatalities.
The sponsor of the bill, Representative John Carson, a Republican serving Marietta says the bill is not unlike such initiatives to make seat belts mandatory and those preventing drunk driving.
Under the bill, the fine for using a phone while driving would increase to $300. Points placed on an offender’s license could be as many as 6 points for repeat offenders. A person’s license can be suspended if they accrue 15 points in a two-year period.
Last month, the bill passed overwhelmingly in the house but the fate of the bill still remains unclear.
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