How do you feel about the hands-free law? As you all know, the law took effect on July 1. The law says drivers can’t have a cell phone in their hand or on their body while driving.
You are also not supposed to write, read, or send text messages or any social media while driving. Another part of the law states you are not allowed to watch videos while you are driving.
Of course, to most people in my generation, we are likely to say, “well, duh.” Sadly, younger people, and even many in the “older” category, were constantly texting while driving and causing accidents and even numerous deaths. I cannot tell you how many times I see people texting while driving or staring at their cell phones instead of paying attention to the road.
So what is the status and has the law been working? According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia, www.gahighwaysafety.org, in the first six months of the law being in effect, more than 8,000 citations were issued. Did you know the first fine is $50 and one point against your driver’s license. The second fine is $100 and two points against you. The third is $150 and three points. Authorities definitely believe the law has helped save lives, so that is a good thing.
The real question is, are most people obeying the law? I suppose it is a bit like speeding — some are worse offenders than others. Personally, I see drivers holding their cell phones all of the time — pretty much every single day. This baffles me for several reasons.
Of course, the obvious one, it is against the law and they are endangering me and every other driver on the road. But perhaps even more bothersome is what the heck is so important that you have to be checking your cell phone every few minutes? Are all of these cell-checking-drivers brain surgeons who are on call so they must keep checking to see if a patient needs emergency brain surgery? I don’t think so.
Are people so addicted to social media they feel they must constantly check their devices to see how many “likes” they have? Believe me when I say I love social media just as much as the next person, but I am able to refrain from looking at my cell phone while driving.
In addition, I was able to do so long before the hands-free law was signed into existence. I actually think it is sad this law had to be enacted because so many people thought it was perfectly fine to look at their cell phones and text while driving. That is just crazy.
I remember being a child when wearing a seat belt became law. At first it was strange to strap on that seat belt, but very soon it became a habit. Not wearing my seat belt was soon unthinkable — it just felt so strange. Most of us cannot imagine not buckling up and of course making sure our children are safely buckled in.
Hopefully people will realize not looking at your cell phone, like a seat belt, can potentially be a lifesaver. If this hits home with you, please remember this became a law because so many people were being maimed or killed because someone thought their text or a post was more important than paying attention to the road. Don’t risk hurting someone else or possibly killing them. That text message is not worth it.
What are your thoughts about the hands-free law and have you also noticed people not following the rules? Email me.
South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at email@example.com.