ATLANTA - Troopers watched drivers even more closely Sunday night, the first evening since the state's new hands-free law was enforced.
Channel 2's Rikki Klaus rode alongside them and watched as a trooper pulled over drivers for everything from reading and tapping their phone in a mount to holding their phone.
“On Sunday, the Georgia State Patrol issued 34 citations and 98 warnings statewide for distracted driving under the Hands-Free Georgia Act," said Tracey Watson, Department of Public Safety.
When asked what led to a citation or warning, Watson said, “I can’t really say, because issuing a citation is at the discretion of each trooper.”
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Georgia State Patrol is enforcing 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."
Navid Ahsan from Rockdale County admitted he made a mistake, holding his phone while using GPS. He told us the hands-free law is long overdue.
“We should have done that a long time ago," he said.
Croscutt said another driver admitted to texting on the highway. He used the traffic stop as a teachable moment.
“It’s definitely something that I feel is going to keep folks safe," he said.
Croscutt encourages everyone to read the law for themselves but said the main things to remember are: don’t hold your phone, don’t even rest it on your lap. Also, don’t read, write or send text-based information.
Anything that distracts you, and that could mean eating food, is not allowed, either. No video watching or broadcasting is allowed.
Croscutt ultimately hope the law reduces deaths, at a time when he says troopers see crashes almost daily caused by distraction.
“I hope that when we look at the amount of fatalities that occur as a result of traffic crashes at the end of the year. I hope that there’s a dramatic reduction in that number," he said.
Smart watches are OK for talking but not for texting.
The fines range from $50 to $150.
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