Georgia hands-free law: Nearly 1,000 tickets and warnings in 4 days

The AJC reports that Georgia’s new distracted driving law, which prohibits motorists from physically holding their cellphones, has made work a little more complicated — and may require more conditioning to get used to.

“It’s possible we’ll see more use when people are back to their usual driving routines, but it’s hard to say,” Gwinnett County police Sgt. Jake Smith said.

Compiling a clear picture of Georgia’s compliance with the new law has, thus far, not been simple. The availability of statistics has varied greatly from agency to agency, and evaluating the significance of those that have been provided isn’t easy.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety, which primarily patrols interstates, said its troopers had written a total of 179 citations and 795 formal warnings through Wednesday.

An Atlanta Police Department spokesman said the agency wrote 86 citations for hands-free violations over the same time period. The Lawrenceville Police Department said it had issued 25 citations.

Many other agencies, from the Clayton, DeKalb and Gwinnett police departments to the one Athens-Clarke County, said they didn’t have any statistics yet. Many said they only update their traffic statistics on a monthly basis, if that.

Though there is no formal grace period built into the law, many departments are also focusing on “education” and issuing only verbal warnings during the first weeks of enforcement. Most do not track such warnings, making it hard to quantify the sheer number of potential violators that have been stopped thus far.

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