Last summer, a new Georgia law went in to effect that prohibited motorists in this state from handling their phones and other portable electronic devices while also driving. The measure was meant to curb texting and driving and other, related behavior behind the wheel.
A recent study of Georgia drivers suggests that the new law is serving its intended purpose, at least for the time being. The study examined the driving habits of over 21,000 motorists in this state over a total of seven months. Those conducting the study examined driving behavior both three months before the new law took effect and the four months after police started enforcing the new law.
Before the new law, the typical driver in this state was spending about 12 minutes per hour of travel time texting and driving, which translates to close to 20 percent of a driver's time on the road. After the new law took effect, drivers spent closer to 15 percent of their time texting and driving, or closer to 9 minutes of distracted driving per hour.
The authors of this study warned that, while a step in the right direction, the results may not be permanent.
In other jurisdictions, new, tougher distracted driving laws initially lead to a reduction in distracted driving. In the longer term, though, drivers gradually start picking their phones back up again once the newness of the law wears off.
Also, 9 minutes of distracted driving per hour is still 9 minutes too many. The reality is that any amount of distracted driving, including texting and driving, can cause serious motor vehicle accidents. If a Northern Georgia resident believes he or she has been the victim of a distracted driver, legal options for obtaining compensation may be available to him or her.