Distracted driving and the search for ways to prevent it have become one of the biggest issues in transportation. Since the human race became entirely dependent on near-constant smartphone use for our very survival, the daily necessity of getting from point A to point B by way of motor vehicle became a lot more deadly. Everyone knows that using your phone or other device while driving is dangerous, but we all tell ourselves that we’re a capable enough driver to handle both tasks at once, despite the overwhelming evidence that distracted driving costs tens of thousands of lives each year. In an attempt to crack down on the growing problem of distracted driving, Georgia state lawmakers have unveiled a bill which would limit drivers to using one-swipe or hands-free smartphone apps while driving or face stiff consequences. Is this the way to curb distracted driving?
Georgia’s House Bill 673 proposes a new punishment structure intended to deter and discourage distracted driving. The bill would limit drivers to using only “one swipe” or hands-free applications of their phones at all times while operating a motor vehicle or face a fine of up to $900 according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Drivers will also be eligible for more points added to their licenses for in-car phone use, particularly for repeat offenders. Georgia state representative John Carson of Marietta told Atlanta’s WSB-TV 2 that while the bill might sound draconian, but is ultimately necessary in order to save lives:
Fatalities are increasing. Premiums are increasing. We have the data to prove it. And it’s the right thing to do. I can’t tell you how many people, mothers, fathers and grandparents have cried on my shoulder because they’ve love their daughter or they lost their son because it was just a texting. It was just a Facebook post. It was just a Twitter repost.
The bill comes on the heels of many similar bills being proposed and laws being passed in other U.S. states and even nationwide laws passed in France to curb distracted driving. The problem has become so widespread that some insurance companies are now requiring policyholders to turn over their smartphone accelerometer data to insurers who can then determine if customers use their phones while driving and raise their premiums accordingly. Will new laws and stiffer punishments be enough to stop distracted driving?