GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Law enforcement agencies throughout Georgia vowed to crack down on texting and driving in 2018- and they did just that.
New numbers show that throughout Georgia, more than 8,000 citations were issued by the State Patrol alone since the Hands-Free Law went into effect July 1.
Authorities in Georgia started enforcing in July the Hands-Free Georgia Act, the biggest change to Georgia’s traffic laws in years.
“The overall goal is just to keep people safe," said Trooper Cory Croscutt. “We're specifically looking for violations of the hands-free law."
Channel 2’s Steve Gehlbach rode along with Croscutt, his eyes always scanning, looking for swerving in the lane, any sign the driver is distracted.
“People should know at this point and be familiar with the Hands-Free Law,” Croscutt said.
After six months of the texting and driving law in place, he is giving fewer warnings and more tickets.
Croscutt says he sees it working, with not as many drivers on their phones.
“I think the law has helped a lot. People are more aware of it, more vigilant,” Croscutt said. "When you're looking at that phone, it's as dangerous a drunk driving."
The director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety says from July through November, there have been more than 6,300 citations for the Hands-Free Law written state-wide.
"We're moving the needle in the right direction and we know this helps and that’s what’s important.”
While it is still too early to directly connect the law to reduction in accidents and traffic deaths, Channel 2 Action News received preliminary numbers for 2018, and fatalities are down compared to last year.
There were more than 1,500 statewide in 2017.
The early numbers so far show it is down about 100 fatalities in 2018.
The number of deaths for the year will rise over
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