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Georgia's New Distracted Driving Law Threatens License Suspension

The 30-day grace period provided on Georgia's new distracted driving law ended this week, and police are now enforcing the new legislation, proving they're serious when they say texting while driving is nothing to "LOL" about.

The new law is a direct response to more and more drivers paying too much attention to their cell phones and not enough attention to the road. The law states drivers under the age of 18 will no longer be allowed to use a phone while driving under any circumstance. Drivers 18 and older may use a phone while driving but are still prohibited from texting. Fines will range from $150 to $350, depending on if use of your phone results in a car crash. If the driver in an accident scenario using a mobile device is found to have caused the accident, fines would double and the driver's license would be suspended.

According to a 2009 study completed by Car and Driver Magazine, texting while driving could be even more dangerous than drunk driving.

The magazine rigged a test car with a red light to alert the driver when to break and then tested a driver at 70 miles per hour on a deserted air strip in four separate scenarios: while sober, while legally drunk at .08, while reading an email, and while sending a text. Here were the results:

  • Unimpaired: 0.54 seconds to brake
  • Legally drunk: added an additional 4 feet onto the unimpaired distance
  • Reading e-mail: added an additional 36 feet onto the unimpaired distance
  • Sending a text: added an additional 70 feet onto the unimpaired distance

Based on these results, it is understandable why texting while driving is such a huge issue. The obvious problem Georgia police will encounter while trying to enforce the new law will be how to accurately determine whether someone is texting, talking, or using the phone's GPS. We will be following this issue closely to see what sort of impact the new law has on the safety of Georgia's roads and the number of license suspensions Georgia drivers receive.

Source: Fox 31 "Will Georgia's new texting and driving law work?" 8/2/10