ATLANTA — Georgia roads remain deadly, but the trend may be moving in a better direction.
The state reports a total of 456 fatalities on roads in the Peach State. At the current rate, Georgia is on pace for more than 1,330 deaths on roads throughout Georgia in 2019.
That would, however, be a decrease from recent years. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, 2,266 people died on Georgia roads in 2018, and 1,884 died in 2017.
To help stem highways deaths, Georgia lawmakers passed a hands-free law that took effect on July 1, 2018. Under the law, drivers cannot use their cellphone to talk or text without a hands-free device.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, the number of distracted driving crashes in Georgia has risen by more than 400 percent in the last decade. In 2016, there were 25,215 crashes in the state where “inattentive,” “cell phone” or “distracted” was a contributing crash factor, compared to 5,784 such wrecks in 2006.
Despite the new law, motorists continue to use their phones while behind the wheel. Since ’Georgia’s hands-free law went into effect on July 1, 2018, the Georgia State Patrol alone has issued more than 15,000 hands-free citations.
Authorities in Georgia continue to run targeted enforcement efforts aimed at eliminating distracted driving in Georgia.
“The passage of the hands-free law was a big step in the effort to reduce the rising number of traffic deaths on our roads in recent years,” Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said in a news release last month. “While everyone knows the law, breaking a lifelong habit is not easy for so many who don’t realize the real danger they are putting themselves, those riding with them and pedestrians in when they are talking, texting or doing anything else on their phone while driving.”