As of August 31st, Ohio became the 39th state to officially ban texting while driving. For the next 6 months however, drivers caught texting while driving will only receive warnings. Georgia passed its no texting and driving law back in 2010, and police have issued some citations but is the law effective at doing what it is supposed to do? A survey done back in 2010 by the Highway Loss Data Institute found that in 2 out of 3 states with no texting and driving laws in place, accidents actually increased rather than decreased. The reason for this appears to be that drivers are now lowering their phones into their laps to read or send email, or text, meaning that their focus is taken even further off the road than before the laws were passed.
Key to issuing citations is the need for an officer to catch an offending driver in the act and that can be difficult. Drivers can offer to show their phones to the officer to prove they didn’t violate the law but most are not forthcoming and the office ends up issuing a warning for lack of evidence. It easy enough to stick your phone away when you get pulled over. What would it take to stop texting or any other distracted driving behavior that involves a mobile device? Its teenagers who tend to be the worst offenders but what would it take to stop this practice for our most vulnerable drivers, Georgia teen drivers, those with the least experience? Perhaps if the penalties were more severe and a teen could incur license suspension or very high fines it might help save lives.
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