Georgia expected to pass distracted driving bill (updated)

Georgia is expected to pass HB673, which would make it illegal to hold a cell phone while driving.

Georgia is expected to pass a distracted driving bill, which would make it illegal to hold a cell phone while driving.

Update as of June 27, 2018: The Hands-Free Georgia Act (HB673), which is discussed in this article, will go into effect on July 1st, 2018. This means that drivers will no longer be permitted to hold a cell phone while they are driving in the state of Georgia. 

Georgia is expected to join fifteen other states that have passed laws that ban holding a cell phone while behind the wheel. Currently, Georgia law forbids texting and driving, but both talking on a handheld cell phone and dialing are still legal.

HB673 aims to change that as an effort to reduce distracted driving accidents.

What is HB673?

HB673 basically prohibits drivers from holding a cell phone or another electronic device while they’re driving a car. The goal of the distracted driving bill is to make it easier for law enforcement to uphold driving laws. Since holding a phone to talk or dial is still currently legal, it’s difficult for police officers to prove that the driver in question was actually texting (and thus breaking the law) instead of just dialing or holding the phone.

Of course, the bill is also intended to reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities on Georgia’s roads. The bill will raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and hopefully discourage people from taking their attention off the road by looking at a screen.

If the distracted driving bill passes, it will be illegal to talk on the phone and drive.

What’s not legal?

Under the new bill, the following would be ILLEGAL:

  • Holding a cell phone, wireless device, or another electronic (like an iPod)
  • Writing, reading, or sending text (ex. Text messages, email, IM, or internet data)
  • Reaching for a device so that you are no longer in a proper seated driving position with seatbelt restraint
  • Watching a video or movie (other than navigation)
  • Recording a video

The new distracted driving bill would make these actions while driving unlawful. Again, the goal is to reduce the number of car accidents caused by distracted driving. Under the new law, the first-time offense means a fine of $50, but it increases for each offense after that.

What’s still legal?

Certain things will still be legal and permissible. The following would be allowed while driving…

  • Using hands-free technology to talk or text
  • Using a GPS or navigation app
  • Smart watches
  • Earpieces
  • Reporting an accident, medical emergency, fire, crime, or hazardous road condition
  • Radios, CB radios, subscription-based emergency communication devices, prescribed medical devices, and in-vehicle security, navigation, or remote navigation
  • Using a handheld phone while parked off the road in an area where parking is permitted (NOTE: This does NOT mean being stopped at a traffic light.)

Distracted driving and insurance premiums

Distracted driving has contributed to an increase in traffic accidents and fatalities. And insurance companies look at statistics to determine car insurance rates. The higher the chance of an accident occurring, the higher the premiums drivers are likely to face. That’s why rates are often higher for people who have gotten speeding tickets or who have been involved in accidents. The decision to commit to being safe driver can help you save money on car insurance, so the distracted driving bill might help lower your premiums.

The goal the distracted driving bill is to reduce the number of traffic accidents in Georgia.

That’s the scoop on the distracted driving bill (HB673) that is expected to pass in Georgia. Hopefully, we will see a decrease in traffic-related injuries and fatalities and the roads will become safer for everyone. Take care and drive safe, Atlanta.

If you’re looking to save money on auto insurance, we would be happy to help you with that. Car insurance might seem pricey, but we can help you shop for the best coverage at the best rate. To get started with your auto insurance quotes, just fill out our online form or give us a call today.

Source:

https://www.myajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/georgia-just-passed-distracted-driving-bill-what-legal-what-not/PZXchE0AqAi1H8r7X8XrZN/

http://www.wtvm.com/story/37882063/new-distracted-driving-law-proposed-citations-across-georgia-will-change

https://www.gahighwaysafety.org/highway-safety/hands-free-law/

What you need to know about keeping your Atlanta teen driver safe

It's important to talk about good driving habits with your teen driver.

It's important to talk about good driving habits with your teen driver.

If you’re the parent of a teenager who’s about to get their driver’s license, you’re probably a little panicked at the thought of your kid getting behind the wheel of a car. That’s perfectly normal. Letting your child roll out the door with the car keys in hand might send a pang through the heart.

But we’ve got good news: there are things you can do as a parent to help keep your teen driver safe on the road. Check out the following list.

1. Talk about texting and driving.

You need to make it very clear to your teenager why it’s dangerous to text and drive or talk on the phone and drive. Every parent wants to think that their kid will resist the temptation to use their phone while driving, but it’s important to let your child know that your expectation, not to mention the law, is no phone while driving.

2. Send your teen to driver’s ed.

Taking a driver’s ed class helps gives your teen driver more practice behind the wheel. It will also help reinforce the skills they need to be a responsible, safe driver. Plus, you might get a discount that will help you save money on teen auto insurance if you send your kid to driver’s ed.

3. Have your teen get lots of practice.

Practice makes perfect. It’s a good idea to have your teen driver get plenty of road time before testing for their license. Have them get their permit as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to have them practice in different driving conditions, such as traffic and rain (of course, it’s important that your child feels comfortable and confident enough behind the wheel before you introduce new variables like rain.) Driving is scary enough without having to worry about how to drive safely in the rain.

4. Set some rules.

Most states have laws for newly licensed drivers. Georgia law forbids drivers under the age of 18 from being on the road from midnight to 6 a.m. It also limits the number of passengers you can have in the car at once. Driving with any amount of alcohol in the blood is illegal for drivers under 21.

Those are only a few of the limitations placed on new drivers. Familiarize yourself with Georgia laws and make sure your teen understands and knows them, too. Be sure to enforce these laws – they were created for a reason. You may even want to create some rules of your own.

Pro tip: Come up with a parent-teen contract of safe driving rules that you want your teen to follow. Distracted driving, curfew, seatbelt use, passengers, and “radius” might be some things you lay out in your contract. Then have your teen driver sign it. Studies have shown that a formal agreement reduces risky behavior.

Writing a contract can help keep your teen driver safe.

5. Set a good example.

If you’re being a safe driver, your teen will see your good habits and hopefully emulate them. If they see you fiddling with your phone, not wearing a seatbelt, speeding, eating, or losing your temper, how can you expect them not to do the same? Kids (including teen drivers) absorb everything. So, teach your teen how to be a safe driver by showing them.

6. Present them with the keys to the “family car.”

Rather than getting your teen driver a new car or even a new-used car, let them drive the family car. This might encourage them to be more responsible and make good decisions.

7. Make sure the car they’re driving is safe.

Doing some research on safety features and ratings can help you make a good, informed choice about which vehicle your teen will drive. You want to have them in a car that will protect them if anything happens. Though the sports car that they really want is super cool, a small SUV or sturdy sedan is probably a safer option.

8. Don’t let your teen drive tired.

Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving in terms of worsened reaction time. High schoolers often have to stay up late to cram for tests or finish homework. If your teen stays up late and is running low on sleep, offer to drive them to school or encourage them to take the bus. Phrase it as being an extra chance to get some rest and relax.

9. Show them that the time for seatbelts is all the time.

Your teen driver needs to understand that seatbelts are not optional. Every passenger and the driver needs to be buckled up. It’s the driver’s job to do a seatbelt check and make sure that everyone is good to go before departing. This is for everyone’s safety: seatbelts prevent people from being thrown from vehicles if there is a crash. Seatbelts save lives.

10. Emphasize communication.

Have your teen driver get in the habit of telling you where they’re going, how long they’ll be, and when they’re on their way home. You’ll feel better about your kid charging off on their own if you have a system for checking that they arrived safely. (But of course emphasize no texting while driving, even if they’re texting you.)

Having a teen who’s ready to get their license and start driving is nerve-wracking for parents. But by encouraging good driving habits and giving your kid the opportunity to get lots of practice, you can help them stay safe behind the wheel.

Having a teen driver can be stressful, but you can help keep them safe.

We can also help you save money on teen auto insurance. All you have to do to get quotes for auto insurance is fill out our quote form or give us a call today. We would be happy to help you find quality insurance at a great rate.

Source:

https://www.safekids.org/blog/you-can-keep-your-teen-drivers-safer-here-are-7-ways-can-help

https://www.safekids.org/blog/teen-driver-safety

Why you should think twice before texting and driving

You can easily travel the length of a football field without seeing the road if you're texting and driving.

Texting and driving greatly increases your chance of having a car accident.

We’ve all heard the dire warnings about distracted driving. Maybe part of us knows that texting and driving is wrong and dangerous, but do we ignore our instincts and do it anyways? When you’re behind the wheel, it’s important that your full attention is on the road and not anything else. Texting and driving isn’t something to take lightly, as the consequences are far-reaching and severe. We’ll outline five reasons not to text and drive.

1. The statistics don’t lie.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving (including texting and driving) killed 3,450 nationwide in 2016. Over 390,000 people were injured in car accidents involving distracted driving in 2015. They estimate that at any given moment during the day in 2016, 481,000 people were using electronic devices while driving.  

The CDC adds to these statistics that every day in the US, nine people are killed in car crashes that involve a distracted driver and over 1,000 are injured in distracted driving accidents every day.

The numbers are very sobering. It’s important to remember and keep in mind that you’re not on the road alone. There are innocent drivers and pedestrians all around you, and they could get hurt if a lapse in your attention results in a car accident.

2. Texting and driving is illegal in Georgia.

In Georgia, texting and driving is illegal. It’s also considered a primary law, meaning that a police officer can pull you over for texting without having to see any other offense. If you get caught texting and driving, you’ll have to pay a fine and you’ll get one point against your driver’s license. Points are not good, so it’s best to put the phone away while you’re driving.

For the record, “texting” as defined by the law is writing, reading, or sending text data using an electronic device (and yes, that includes emails.)

3. If you’re texting and driving, you travel farther than you think without looking at the road.

Reading or sending a text takes your attention off the road for about five seconds. Let’s say that you’re driving 45 mph. At that speed, you’ll travel 330 feet in five seconds. That’s over the length of a football field. At 55 mph, you’ll travel 403 feet in five seconds. That’s pretty terrifying to think about if you’re not looking at the road.  

You can easily travel the length of a football field without seeing the road if you're texting and driving.

Imagine if someone asked you to put on a blindfold and drive the length of a football field. You wouldn’t do it, right? There are way too many risks – you could hit another car, strike a pedestrian, veer off the road. If you text and drive, you’re essentially driving blindfolded. Even looking away for two seconds means that you’re not watching the road for 132 feet. That’s about one and a half basketball courts. When you’re driving, reaction time is critical. And you can’t have a decent reaction time if you’re wasting precious seconds looking at your phone. You have to know what’s coming and act as quickly as possible – that’s part of being a defensive driver. Sure you might have collision coverage for your car, but it’s best to not have to use it. 

4. Texting and driving involves multiple forms of distraction.

There are three main types of distraction while you’re driving. There are manual distractions, which take your hands off the steering wheel. There are cognitive distractions, in which your mind is not focused on the road. And then there are visual distractions, which take your eyes away from the road. The thing about texting and driving is that it involves all three types of distraction, which makes it super dangerous. If your hands aren’t on the steering wheel, your mind isn’t focused on the road, and your eyes aren’t looking where you’re going, how are you supposed to operate a vehicle? All three of those things are kind of important when it comes to driving.

5. Car accidents make your car insurance rates go up.

When you’re getting a quote for car insurance, chances are that the agent is going to check your driving record. Car accidents that are on your record can count against you when it comes to your insurance rates because being involved in accidents means that you’re a higher risk to insure. And insurance companies really don’t like risk, so they charge more the higher a risk you are. Car insurance is expensive enough as it is, but it pays to be a safe driver. If you haven’t been in any car accidents or gotten any speeding tickets, you’re seen as being less of a risk, meaning that you could save money on car insurance rates. So, there’s another reason to not text and drive

Texting and driving puts both your safety and the safety of others on the road at risk. Thousands of people die each year because of distracted driving accidents. By simply putting your phone down and not looking at it while you drive, you lower your chances of causing a car accident. Driving and distractions just don’t mix. So, don’t take your chances – put the phone away and wait until you’re safely at your destination to text.

Do you want to save money on your car insurance rates? We can help you with that. We can help you shop around for the best possible care insurance rate by getting quotes from some of the top carriers in the country All you have to do to get car insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today.

Sources:

https://www.drivinglaws.org/georgia.php   

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/Distracted_Driving/index.html

https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

5 reasons to drive safely (Hint: You could save on Atlanta car insurance)

Driving safe can help you save on your car insurance.

Driving in Atlanta is always a bit of an adventure. Narrow streets, roadwork, limited parking, and, of course, figuring out how to survive Atlanta traffic! Perhaps even more intimidating than driving in the city is car insurance. It’s important to learn about car insurance so that you can answer common car insurance questions, but you might dread thinking about auto insurance because the rates can be so expensive. But there’s a simple, easy way to save on your car insurance – driving safe. We’ll give you five car-insurance-related reasons to be a straight-A driver.

1. Your car insurance premium is directly related to your driving record.

When an insurance company goes to give you a quote on your car insurance, they look into your driving record. They’ll most likely check your record for accidents and tickets from the past three to five years. From your record, they’ll determine how much of a risk you and your family are to insure. The higher a risk you are, the more you’ll have to pay for insurance. Insurance companies consider accidents and tickets to be risky because statistically, drivers with tickets and accidents will have more tickets and accidents in the future.

2. If you have no tickets or accidents, you might be able to get lower quotes when you shop.

If you have good driving habits and have a clean record, your premium will reward you and you’ll end up paying less for your auto insurance. The quotes you’ll receive from auto insurance companies will be lower – you may even be pleasantly surprised!

3. After a few years of good driving, you may be able to get a discount on your rates.

If you go for a good amount of time with no tickets or accidents, you could qualify for a discount on your auto insurance rates (depending on your carrier, of course.) Insurance companies like to reward drivers who drive safely. The fewer claims you have, the better. You want to present as little risk as possible to the insurance company, and that means no accidents. And that means no distracted driving, speeding, drowsy driving, or other risky driving behavior. Sure, we can’t control the actions of other drivers on the road, but we can control our own actions. And that means making conscious choices to be a safer driver and avoiding distracted or unsafe driving.

4. By driving safe, you might be able to qualify for accident forgiveness.

Usually, having a car accident would make your rates go up – insurance companies don’t like risk, remember? If you’ve had a clean driving record for a good amount of time, your carrier might allow you to have accident forgiveness. That means that if you do happen to have a car accident, your rates would not go up. Ask if your carrier has accident forgiveness.

5. Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to lower your deductible.

The deductible is the amount that you agree to pay if you have a claim before the insurance company will step in to help you cover costs. Of course, this all depends on your insurance company. But if your company does allow you to lower your deductible for having a clean driving record, that means less money out of your pocket if you ever have a claim.

Being a safe driver and keeping your full attention on the road is important to help you avoid a car accident. This is your health and life that we’re talking about, along with the safety of other drivers on the road. Apart from preventing accidents and injuries to yourself and others, being a safe driver can help you save on your car insurance. So, as you can see, there are many reasons to be a careful driver and avoid risky driving when you get behind the wheel.

Looking for a car insurance quote in Atlanta? We would love to help you get the car insurance you need so you can hit the road with peace of mind. All you have to do to get in touch with one of our insurance agents is fill out our online quote form or give us a call today – we’d be happy to help you with all of your insurance needs!