Distracted driving: 50,000 GSP tickets in two years

The Georgia State Patrol has issued nearly 50,000 citations since the Hands-Free Georgia Act took effect two years ago. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
The Georgia State Patrol has issued nearly 50,000 citations since the Hands-Free Georgia Act took effect two years ago. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

The Georgia State Patrol wrote nearly 50,000 distracted-driving citations in two years after the state outlawed handling a cell phone while driving.

The law took effect on July 1, 2018. Since then, troopers have issued 49,535 citations through Sunday, the State Patrol said Tuesday. That doesn’t include citations issued by local police departments.

The announcement comes as the agency gears up for a holiday weekend of enforcement on Georgia highways.

“State troopers and officers will be on high visibility patrols during the 54-hour holiday period,” said Col. Gary Vowell, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. “Our goal is to keep the number of traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities at a minimum, as well as discourage impaired driving.”

The Hands-Free Georgia Act prohibits motorists from handling a cell phone or other wireless device while driving. A first-offense costs $50.

Earlier this year, the General Assembly considered legislation that would doubled the cost of violations. But it failed to pass during the legislative session.

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