One year after the state's no-texting-while-driving law took effect, law enforcement say they've issued few citations but driver behavior has changed.
Friday marks the one-year anniversary of Georgia's no-texting-while-driving ban. It officially became illegal to text and drive in the state on July 1, 2010.
Gov. Sonny Perdue signed the law on June 4 last year. Drivers who violate it can face a $150 fine and get 1 point added to their license.
Local and state law enforcement have said it's difficult to enforce.
In January, 13 WMAZ reported Central Georgia law enforcement had issued fewer than five citations for violating the law. Many agencies gave drivers "grace periods" and did not issue tickets in the first one to three months after the law took effect.
As of mid-June, Macon Police had issued 16 citations for texting and driving. Traffic division lieutenant Wilton Collins says, based on what his patrol officers tell him, the law has made a difference on the city's roadways.
"I think that either yes, it's changed and people finally opened their eyes and realized that yes it's dangerous," Collins said, "or they're much more careful about it and keeping it down while they're doing it."
Collins says when pulled over, some drivers have told officers they did not know it is illegal to text and drive in Georgia.
The Bibb County Sheriff's Office reports having issued two citations for texting and driving since July 2010. Chief Deputy David Davis agrees driver behavior has changed.
"They will pull up alongside somebody who is maybe at a traffic light or traveling down the road and they're fiddling with their phone or smart phone," Davis said, "and they'll look and see the deputy and quickly put it down, and so I think it has risen the awareness of the issue and probably has caused a number of people to think about texting and driving and hopefully not do it."
Number of No-Texting-While-Driving Citations Issued Since July 1, 2010
Georgia State Patrol: 105
Bibb County Sheriff's Office: 2
Macon Police: 16
Warner Robins Police: 0
Jones County Sheriff's Office: 3
Monroe County Sheriff's Office: 2
Forsyth Police: 0
Laurens County Sheriff's Office: 0
Fort Valley Police: 0
Centerville Police: 0
Baldwin County Sheriff's Office: 2
Milledgeville Police: 0
Twiggs County Sheriff's Office: 0
Crawford County Sheriff's Office: 0
For more information on the state's anti-texting law, visit the Governor's Office of Highway Safety website.
To watch personal stories of people affected by texting and driving, check out distraction.gov.