ATLANTA, GA – State Farm®, Georgia's largest automobile insurer is reminding Georgia motorists of two new laws that take effect July 1st.
Senate Bill 360 bans texting while driving for adult drivers and House Bill 23 bans all cell phone usage for teen drivers.
Both of these new laws carry fines of $150 and one point added to your driving record. These new laws are designed to reduce distracted driving. 25 states already ban texting for all drivers and 25 states also ban all cell phone usage for teen drivers.
While the dangers of distracted driving apply to all motorists, there is an increased risk for younger drivers.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in their first year on the road, teen drivers are more than 10 times as likely to be involved in an automobile accident.
Any driver who talks on a mobile phone is four times more likely to be involved in a serious crash, regardless of whether the driver uses a hands-free cell.
Cell phone usage is blamed for a majority of the more than 5,000 annual teenage driving fatalities stemming from "distracted drivers."
State Farm spokesman Justin Tomczak said that the company, "Already prohibits their associates from texting while operating a company motor vehicle." Tomczak highlighted the Steer Clear program, which "offers incentives (reduced rates on auto insurance) to new drivers who commit to a basic training program that introduces them to road with the help of a parent or other experienced driver. The program includes the Safe Driver Pledge for new drivers where they agree to follow basic guidelines and avoid dangerous activities while operating a motor vehicle, including pulling over to use a cell phone."
Regardless of the new laws and the potential consequences of getting caught, all motorists should be aware of the real dangers of distracted driving and make a fresh personal commitment to help make our roads safer.