Can't touch this! Georgia's draconian phone-in-car law nets 1000 tickets for 10 days

Can't touch this! Georgia's draconian phone-in-car law nets 1000 tickets for 10 days
Georgia's draconian hands-free cell phone law came into effect less than two weeks ago, and authorities are already counting the fines revenue. We kid, but Georgia Department of Public Safety has given a thousand formal warnings and 320 citations, 86 of which from the Atlanta Police Department.

It's not hard to fathom why, given that the new law puts a restraining order on your phone while in the car, and forbids holding it in the hand, or even touching it while you are driving. Using it as a GPS unit, though, as well as chatting via a Bluetooth headset or on speaker, are allowed, as is connecting the phone to your car's head unit. As per Robert Hydrick, communications director for the Governor's Office of Highway Safety:

For now, the warnings are mostly verbal with rarely a consequence, despite that no grace period was announced for Georgian drivers when the law kicked into effect. Its punishment clauses, however, stipulate $50 fine for the first incident, $100 for a second, and $150 for a third and more conviction, which could quickly add up if you haven't built the obligatory cell-phone-in-car manners in your first seven years of existence.

source: AL



1. cmdacos

Posts: 4386; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Not sure why PA feels that distracted driving laws are excessively harsh... Odd stance to take.

8. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3188; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

It's not an odd stance, it's a downright stupid and irresponsible stance to take. Draconian? Really? Maybe PA's authors should ride for a day with the Accident Investigation squad from any large metro area's police department and see first-hand what distracted driving causes. Dollars to donuts they stop calling the law "Draconian".

11. tedkord

Posts: 17512; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Because they are. They're not distracted driving laws, they're revenue generators. How is simply touching a phone any more distracting than touching the radio to change a channel? It's not about safety, it's about revenue. Texting or surfing or watching a video? Absolutely, they are dangerous and distracting, and should be punished. Picking up your phone to move it? Ridiculous.

19. rick_mobile

Posts: 359; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

I disagree with you. I drive a lot every day for work and I've seen a big increase in acidents and potential accidents because people are on their phone. People merge into other lanes without being aware, run stop signs, run red lights, stall on green lights, hit or almost hit pedestrians because they were looking at their phone. Touching a phone leads to interacting with it and focusing your attention to the content, compared to a stereo where you skip songs and change volume in a matter of a a second or two. People dont just "touch" their phone to move it. People touch their phone to use it. Get real.

2. JimmieCrakCorn

Posts: 143; Member since: Nov 20, 2017

You can be just as distracted while driving when you fumble around to tune a radio station or operate the in-dash GPS, eat a burger, shave your beard, or put on makeup. Banning use of cell phones looks like a pretty half-az measure to prevent distracted-driving traffic accidents.

4. ZombieHunter

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 13, 2013

I saw a guy playing a guitar while driving with his knees the other day on the interstate... THAT is perfectly acceptable?!?!?

12. tedkord

Posts: 17512; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It's not acceptable, but it is impressive.

17. Blazers

Posts: 779; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

I actually saw a taxi driver doing this with passengers in the vehicle, using his knees to drive.

5. cmdacos

Posts: 4386; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

The smartphone has spiked the deaths related to distracted driving. Its not half assed or misgudied

7. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1114; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

Most modern cars have media commands built into the steering wheel so people aren't fiddling with their radio through the center console. As for GPS, 95% of the time the route is set before you are driving. Eating a burger is pretty simple while driving seeing as you don't really have to watch the burger enter your mouth. A text however requires you to turn attention from your surroundings and focus on the screen. Also there are people who play games, check social media, and use snapchat while behind the wheel. If you are stupid enough to put others lives at risk just to take a selfie, you damn well deserve a fine

13. tedkord

Posts: 17512; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Nobody is defending selfies or texting or playing games or checking social media. The law doesn't allow you to touch your phone. Talking on your phone is no more distracting than talking to a passenger. And it's no less distracting because it's over Bluetooth. Eating a burger is every bit as distracting because your trying not to drip grease or sauce on your clothes or car. MANY cars on the road do not have steering wheel controls, so your point is moot until every car does.

16. DFranch

Posts: 562; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

Holding the phone while you talk on it is definitely more distracting than over Bluetooth. There have been countless studies confirming the fact, it's pointless to argue otherwise. Let me guess you're one of those people who think they can multitask better than everybody else? There are other options for people without Bluetooth in their car. I used to use a headset, they're geeky, but you got to do what you got to do.

6. KickRocks

Posts: 284; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Distracted driving IS extremely dangerous and anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

9. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

I don't know why this hasn't been implemented in all 50 states.

14. tedkord

Posts: 17512; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Because it's stupid. But don't worry, it will eventually, once the other states see the revenue Georgia generates from it.

21. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Be glad it's not that high, we have almost the same laws in my country but the first ticket you get is like 260 dollars. And they are trying to make it a crime like DUI, which can mean jail time. But they can give you this ticket as well when you are distracted driving. Like putting on lipstick, eating a sandwich, reading the f#cking newspaper, stuff like that.

18. Blazers

Posts: 779; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Nevada has had a similar law for over 5yrs now. But incorporates EVERYTHING. People are even being cited for applying lipstick or lipbalm at stoplights.

10. smoked_2na unregistered

In Massachusetts there has been a law on the book for over 30/yrs that covered impeded drivers. This could be applied to ( eating, apply makeup, cell phone ) anything, but was rarely enforced. Instead of enforcing the current law everyone thinks we need a texting or other law which is unnecessary since the original law covered these situations. It's all about knee-jerk legislation these days.

15. Rigmaster

Posts: 234; Member since: Jan 22, 2018

None of these laws are perfect and will likely offend or put off someone in some way. What's not in dispute is that any type of distractions while driving introduce risk. Draconian would be something that required your eyes up, both, hands on wheel or gearshift or the vehicle would automatically report violations or safely pull over and shut down. Even something like that wouldn't be perfect. The bottom-line is that driving's safest when it's treated as the only purpose for being in the car.

20. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

To me the fines need to be at least 3 time more then they are. I also disagree that talking to someone in your vehicle is just as dangerous. When you are talking on the phone both your hands are not free in case something was to happen, just like if you are eating and something was to happen.

22. epdm2be

Posts: 830; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

When I'm talking on my phone my hands ARE free. I either use a bt-headset or have my phone connected to the aux-in of my car. THAT's why phone-manufacturers must stop removing those audio-jacks! In fact, IMHO they should build fm-transmitters into them as well (ones that transmit everything not like Nokia's which only transmit navigation- and music)

23. yeayeayeaaa

Posts: 53; Member since: Oct 07, 2014

Ive seen hundreds of women doing their makeup in the car while driving so idk how thats any better. Glad I live in a state where I can tint my windows low so police dont bother me (;

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