Smyrna Leads Way in Georgia Texting-While-Driving Laws

Will the Rest of the State Follow?

A bill recently passed in Smyrna will institute a $150 fine for distracted driving. This is in response to a spike in highway deaths in Georgia over the last few years, in which deaths have risen by a third from 2014 to 2016. Early stats indicate that 1,531 people died on Georgia’s highways in 2017, a slight dip from 1,561 the year before.

Distracted driving—particularly in the form of cell phone use—has been blamed for most of the increase in deaths. As smartphone use increases, drivers are paying more attention to their phones and less attention to the roads.

While this trend is present nationwide, it’s particularly bad here in Georgia. The state led the nation in increases to car insurance premiums during 2016. That’s why lawmakers in Smyrna have decided to take action.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, you should consider seeking legal help. If you’ve been injured by another driver’s negligence, a settlement may help you cover your medical and other expenses. Contact the Stoddard Firm today for a free consultation.

The Law in Smyrna

The law recently passed in Smyrna will enact a $150 fine for distracted driving. Talking on the phone will not be illegal, nor will using certain apps, such as GPS programs.

Some Smyrna lawmakers believe that the state should take action to reduce distracted driving and have pushed through the recent law in an effort to pressure the state into passing a general law. Some state lawmakers have taken up this challenge by putting forward House Bill 673.

If passed, House Bill 673 will increase the fines for repeat offenders from $150 to $900 and make distracted driving part of the state’s point system. Drivers who earn 15 points within 24 months lose their licenses, and House Bill 673 will make a first distracted driving offense 1 point and repeat offenses 4 points.

Opinions on Cell Phone Laws

Supporters of House Bill 673 say that stiffer penalties will deter drivers from using their phones while driving, making drivers across the state safer. But the bill’s critics, including some local police, are concerned that the ban on texting is unenforceable. Officers will have a hard time telling whether a driver is dialing the phone (which would still be legal under House Bill 673) or texting (which would be illegal).

If House Bill 673 does not pass, one possible solution would be a bill that requires drivers to use hands-free technology any time they use a cell phone when driving.

What to do if you’ve been injured in an accident

If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident, you should first seek medical attention. You should also make sure you contact authorities. If your injuries were the result of neglect by another party, you should seek legal assistance. The Stoddard Firm has years of experience handling accident injuries, and we even offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Call us at 678-RESULTS.