Safety

Georgia Takes Action on Handheld Cellphone use While Driving

States Strengthen Traffic Safety Laws in 2018
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On May 2, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed H.B. 673 into law, making the state the 16th (along with D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) to ban handheld wireless device phone use behind the wheel.

"Despite widespread awareness of the risks, many drivers still engage in distracting behaviors," said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). "GHSA urges all states to ban handheld cellphone use behind the wheel, and all motorists to refrain from all distractions and commit their full attention to driving. Congratulations to the state of Georgia for this notable achievement."

Georgia is just one of several states improving traffic safety laws during their 2018 legislative sessions. Notably, Idaho and Iowa have also enacted laws requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including first-time offenders.

"Legislative initiatives are an essential part of the traffic safety equation," Adkins said. "Laws and traffic enforcement set social norms for safe practices, curb dangerous driving and empower police officers to stop risky behavior when they detect it."

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Other 2018 state law enhancements include the following:

  • Impaired Driving:
    Idaho and Iowa enacted laws requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including first-time offenders. Alabama, Arizona and Delaware adopted improvements to their existing ignition interlock programs. Vermont augmented its law banning open containers of marijuana in vehicles.

  • Occupant Protection:
    Nebraska and Virginia became the 10th and 11th states to require children younger than age two to ride in a rear-facing child safety seat, in line with American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. Nebraska also now requires child passengers to use a booster seat up to age 8.

  • Distracted Driving:
    Oregon has adopted new improvements to its distracted driving laws.

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