Georgia Insurance Commissioner Backs Adding Hands-Free Law to Teen Drivers

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Representative John Carson is once again leading on the issue of safe driving by introducing a bill that would amend last year’s Hands-Free Law to “prohibit license and instruction permit holders under 18 years of age from using a stand-alone electronic device or wireless telecommunications device while operating a motor vehicle.”

Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck praised the work of John Carson in a statement he gave Monday.

“Statistics show that the Hands-Free Law is doing exactly what it was designed to do, make Georgia roads safer. I fully support Representative Carson’s bill that amends the law to also apply to drivers with their permits,” said Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck. “Young people learning to drive should not be on their cell phones while operating a vehicle. House Bill 113 will build on the progress that the Hands-Free Law has already made.”

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that the law is always followed or followed “most of the time” by 85% of respondents in a poll conducted by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs.

Georgia State patrol issued 8,339 citations for cellphone-related offenses in the second half of 2018, more than 4,500 more than they did for similar offenses in the first half. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia highway fatalities were down 3.4% in 2018 compared to 2017.
In addition to John Carson of Georgia’s 46th District, House Bill 113 is sponsored by Eddie Lumsden (12th District), Dave Belton (112th District), Richard Smith (134th District), and Bill Hitchens (161st District).