MACON, Ga. — Before you hop on the road, law enforcement wants to remind you to put your phone down. The reason why is because Georgia is a hand free-driving state, and thousands of tickets have been handed out since the law started in July of 2018.
"No, I do not think anything changed on that, people are still distracted by other things you know," James Hightower said.
The law took effect a year ago this month making it illegal to hold your phone while you drive. The Georgia State Patrol says across the state, they've issued 24,862 citations. That number includes citations from the Georgia State Patrol, the Motor Carrier Compliance Division, and Capitol Police.
Here at home, Captain Brad Wolfe with the Bibb County Sheriff's Office says the numbers are lower.
Since the new hands-free driving law started, Captain Wolfe says 117 citations have been issued by their office.
"I think that the law has helped definitely, probably not to the extent that we would like, but it has curtailed the use of cellular devices somewhat," Wolfe said.
Over in the International City, the Warner Robins Police Department says they have issued 171 citations in the first year.
"There is still a lot of education to be done, there are a lot of people who do not know about it, or do not care about it, there is still education to be done, that is down through enforcement, media coverage, and continued," Wolfe said.
Wolfe says it will take time to learn if the law is really working. In the meantime, Hightower says he uses his devices hands-free to stay safe.
"I'm getting use to it, I'm getting use to it, it is actually better now that I know how to use it," Hightower said.
As a reminder, the first time you are pulled over for breaking the law, you can be fined $50 and have one point against your license. After the first violation, the fine and points continue to go up.