Hands-free law: Is it working? GA Highway Safety discusses at conference

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Allen Poole who is the director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety had a message for hundreds of law enforcement officers Monday in Savannah. As he opened a three-day safety conference, he said decreasing traffic deaths is possible.

After an increase in the number of traffic fatalities between 2014 and 2016, Poole says there is now a downward trend. He and other safety experts attribute at least part of that to the Georgia Hands-Free Law that became law in July of 2018.

“I think it’s very effective, we don’t have any data right now because it’s just a year old but we hope and we know that it will make a big difference, a big impact when you can get cell phones out of the hands of drivers, especially inexperienced young drivers,” said Poole.

Poole told News 3 that the number of fatal accidents is “trending downward.” The number of fatalities in Georgia is down just over 2 percent to 1,515 deaths last year.

Poole says he believes the number of citations being issued is helping.

“We want to continue to focus on the downward trend and I think educating the motoring public will get us a little bit better each year,” said Poole.

From July 2018 to May 2019, The Georiga Highway Patrol wrote more than 22,000 citations for distracted driving. We’re also told that Savannah Police has written 750 tickets so far in 2019 and Chatham County Police have written 224 citations.

Safety officials say distracted driving along with not wearing a seat belt continues to be factors in traffic deaths.

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