June 28, 2018 ATLANTA - On July 1, drivers in Georgia will see a new law enacted that was passed by the Georgia General Assembly in the hope of saving lives and eliminating senseless vehicle accidents.
House Bill 673, signed into law by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in May, requires the use of hands-free technology and prohibits motorists from handling their cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. Additionally, headsets and earpieces will be allowed for communication purposes only and cannot be used for listening to music. Reading and sending text messages is also prohibited. The complete law can be found on the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website and highlights of the bill can be found on the Heads UP Georgia website.
“We are especially pleased with this legislation and anticipate that this law will prevent tragic vehicle accidents, saving many lives,” said Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) President Earl Rogers. “GHA testified in support of this bill during Georgia’s 2018 legislative session because distracted driving is the cause of hundreds of avoidable motor vehicle accidents and the loss of precious lives. Our hospitals have treated thousands of patients from vehicle accidents that could have been prevented. We sincerely thank Rep. John Carson and salute all the legislative sponsors and supporters of this bill for their efforts in protecting Georgia’s motorists.”
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 674 fatalities have already occurred this year on Georgia roadways. Last year, 1,549 fatalities were reported.
Vehicle accidents have put a severe strain on hospitals and are the second leading cause for emergency room visits.
“As a Level I trauma center in Georgia, we see an extremely high amount of vehicle crash victims. Our emergency room personnel have treated far too many injuries caused by distracted drivers,” said Grady Memorial Hospital CEO and GHA Chair-Elect John Haupert. “I applaud our state lawmakers for their efforts in making our roadways safer and protecting families from losing their loved ones.”