State Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta, said traffic fatalities in Georgia have decreased since passage of the Hands-Free law, and he will pursue legislation during the 2020 legislative session to further reduce distracted driving.

After the Hands-Free Georgia Act was enacted on July 1, 2018, Georgia began to experience a significant reduction in year-over-year traffic fatalities for the first time in more than a decade. Data from the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety show in 2018, traffic fatalities decreased by 2.25 percent, and preliminary reports show that traffic fatalities decreased by an additional 4 percent in 2019. Furthermore, fatalities from the following categories have decreased from 2018 to 2019: pedestrian, 9 percent; bicycles, 30 percent; and drivers/passengers ages 15 to 24, 10 percent.

“We have made tremendous strides in our state to curb the number of traffic accidents and fatalities that are a result of distracted driving,” Carson said. “While statistics prove that hands-free driving has significantly improved driver safety, House Bill 113 would further our efforts to help save countless lives, bringing us one step closer to ending distracted driving in Georgia.”

During the 2020 legislative session, Carson said he will continue his work on House Bill 113, which was introduced during the 2019 session and would impose higher fines for distracted driving offenses. The fines for a first time distracted driving offense would range from $50 to $100, fines for a second offense would range from $100 to $200 and fines for a third offense would range from $150 to $300. Additionally, HB 113 would increase fines for distracted driving offenses committed within school or construction zones, and it would remove the state’s first-time offense waiver.

“We have made significant progress over the past two years, not just in legislation, but also in changing the culture in our state to reduce distracted driving,” Carson said. “However, we all still see distracted drivers on our roads. I look forward to continuing to make this behavior unacceptable and to making our roads even safer.”

For more information on HB 113, visit www legis.ga.gov.

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