As many are aware, the hands-free law aimed at preventing distracted driving accidents went into effect on July 1st in Georgia. The law, which basically says a driver may not talk or text while driving unless they are using a headset or voice input for texting. While there were many who were in favor of the law, many opponents said that other activities like eating, putting on makeup, and changing radio stations should also be included in the law. The first figures are promising – traffic fatalities on a year-to-date basis are already down, according to WSAV.
As of September 30th, traffic fatalities in Georgia are down 11%. It is the largest decrease in traffic fatalities in ten years in the state. So far in 2018, there have been 128 fewer fatalities when compared to 2017 using a year-to-date comparison.
The Georgia State Patrol reported that overall crashes were down in the months following implementation of the hands-free law. Compared to 2017, car accidents in July were down 2.5 percent and in August, accidents dropped further, down 8.9% compared to August 2017.
Data for September has yet to be finalized, but preliminary numbers show an even greater decrease.
The Georgia auto insurance market seems to corroborate these numbers. According to insurance claims, claims for accidents are down for the first time in three years. Quarterly insurance claims experienced a decrease in both frequency and in severity for the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2017.
“While eating, grooming, and other distractions are a cause of accidents, they are insignificant when compared to the distraction of smartphones,” says Representative Jeff Jones, a Republican from Brunswick.
John Foy & Associates encourages you not to text or use electronic devices while driving. It’s not just against the law, it could save your life.