John Carson introduces Hands-Free Driving Law

Building on the findings of the House Study Committee on Distracted Driving which he chaired, Representative Carson today introduced a bill to curb the use of tablets, laptops, cell phones, Pokemon Go, and everything north of the fidget spinner while driving.

Taking your eyes off the road to drive would seem to make things more dangerous. It just makes sense, right? Moving to hands free then would seem to be move in the right direction. There are many studies that suggest it doesn’t go far enough and that it is the distracted mind that’s the problem, and not merely the eye. But given how difficult it is to get people to put down their phones at all, adding to the penalties for these infractions is a step in the right direction.

Under Rep. Carson’s bill, Georgia drivers would be permitted to touch or swipe their mobile devices once to initiate a call and once again to terminate a call while operating a vehicle. Drivers would also be allowed to use their mobile devices for GPS and navigation, but on a hands-free basis.

“Because of the alarming increase in automobile accidents and fatalities in our state, it is critical that state lawmakers pass hands-free driving legislation as quickly as possible,” said Rep. Carson. “Distracted driving is a serious public safety issue, and it is proven that the use of mobile devices while driving has amplified this problem. I believe this measure will ultimately save lives by protecting Georgia’s citizens on our roadways and decreasing the number of auto accidents. I encourage all Georgians to contact their state legislators in support of this bill.”

This legislation would also increase Georgia’s current distracted driving fine of $150 to $300 to $450 for the first citation, $400 to $650 for the second citation and $650 to $900 for the third and subsequent citations. Fines would be at the discretion of a judge dependent on the severity of the offense. Additionally, under this measure, points against a license for distracted driving would increase from one point currently to three points on the first citation and four points for every subsequent citation. The measure would also adjust the distracted driving penalties for any resulting manslaughter or severe bodily injury to mirror those of Georgia’s drunk driving laws.

The bill is HB 673, and the text will magically be available at this link in the morning.

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