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State of Georgia Considers Outlawing Cell Phone Use While Driving for Drivers Under 18

The Georgia state legislature is considering a law that would outlaw cell phone use in the driver’s seat for our youngest drivers, the Augusta Chronicle reported July 13. Georgia House Bill 23 would bad both texting and talking for drivers with a Class D license, which is held by people under 18. If caught, these drivers would have two points assessed against their licenses, the same as for speeding 15 mph over the limit or violating the open container law. If it passes, Georgia would join 21 other states and the District of Columbia that ban all cell phone use for novice drivers, though the definition of a novice varies between states.

The article starts with an anecdote from 17-year-old Brendan Grota, who said he gets nervous when he rides with a friend who drives while texting. The problem has also been noticed by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, according to Sgt. Ray Childress. However, Childress said, the problem is not limited to teenagers — most people he sees texting while driving are in their twenties, and he would prefer a ban for all ages. The article cites research from several sources showing that text messaging while driving is hazardous, including a National Safety Council fact sheet saying drivers are four times as likely to crash when they are using a cell phone. The Council, a nonprofit, has called for a complete nationwide ban on all cell phone use while driving.

As a Gwinnett County, Georgia auto accident lawyer, I know many people will defend phoning and driving as convenient and no more harmful than other driver distractions. But because I work with victims of serious accidents every day, I have a different perspective. According to this article, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that nearly 80% of crashes are caused by driver inattention, and it is hard to pay attention to the road when your eyes are on a phone. Simply talking might seem safer, but according to a study by the University of Utah’s Applied Cognition Laboratory, talking on the phone produces a level of impairment similar to drunk driving. That is why I believe the smartest course of action is to not use the phone while driving, even if there is no law against it.

The Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle represent people throughout Metro Atlanta and all of Georgia who suffered serious injuries in a traffic accident caused by someone else’s carelessness. Car wrecks can be physically and financially devastating, causing serious injuries along with extremely high medical bills. Our Atlanta car crash lawyers can help victims struggling with these and other injuries get the money they need to pay those bills and compensate them for their injuries. In a Georgia car accident lawsuit, victims can also recover compensation for any permanent disability, disfigurement or wrongful death.

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries because someone else was not watching the road, you should talk to the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle about your legal rights and your options. To set up a free consultation, please call toll-free at 1-866-972-5287, contact us online or send us an email.