On March 29, 2018, Georgia’s General Assembly passed House Bill 673 in an effort to curb the trend of rising traffic fatalities and serious injuries in automobile accidents. Crash data from the Georgia Department of Transportation (“GDOT”) showed an increase of 33% of fatalities on Georgia roads from 2014 to 2016. The number of fatal auto accidents in Georgia in the two-year period between 2014 and 2015 were three times the national average. In 2015, 74% of fatal accidents on Georgia’s roads involved impairment (i.e., DUI alcohol and/or drugs), speeding, or distracted driving.
Georgia’s legislature hopes that the passage of House Bill 673 will help show a curb in the number of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from distracted driving. The bill is expected to be signed in the coming weeks by Governor Deal.
House Bill 673 will prohibit Georgia drivers from doing the following:
- Holding a cell phone or mobile device while driving;
- Supporting a cell phone or mobile device while driving with any part of your body while driving;
- Texting, emailing, or surfing the internet while driving (which is already illegal in Georgia);
- Watching or recording videos while driving;
Drivers on Georgia’s roads would still be permitted to use hands-free devices while driving, answer their phone to answer or hang up so long as the driver is not holding the phone, use the phone’s GPS technology, and use voice-to-text technology.
If Governor Deal signs the bill as expected, House Bill 673 will become effective on July 1, 2018.