Georgia recently passed the Hands-Free Law that prohibits all motorists from driving with a handheld electronic device. However, most would be surprised to know that an astonishing number of parents admit to setting poor driving examples for their children by using cell phones and communication devices while driving.
According to the results of a study which was published in the journal Pediatrics recently, about 50 percent of parents admitted to regularly talking on their cell phones while driving with their children. About 1 in 3 admitted to texting while driving, and 1 in 7 admitted to using social media while driving. The children in these cases were between 10 and 14 years of age – impressionable minds that absorb their parents’ examples and behavior.
What’s worse, but not too surprising, is that these parents were also likely to engage in other equally harmful driving practices, whether their children were in the car or not, such as failure to wear seatbelts or driving under the influence of alcohol. About 14.5 percent of the parents included in the study failed to place their child in child safety systems while driving. The study also found a direct link between the rates of driving under the influence of alcohol and irresponsible cell phone practices at the wheel.
It’s hard to say for sure that witnessing poor parental examples automatically leads to bad driving practices by children as they grow up, but it’s safe to assume that this is very likely. After all, children are exposed to their parents’ driving habits from a young age. When parents take time to model good practices like wearing seatbelts and avoiding the use of cell phones while at the wheel, they have a direct impact on their children and help lay the foundation for good driving habits down the road. The reverse is likely to happen when parents are constantly ignoring driving rules, thereby increasing the risk that their children will engage in the same dangerous driving habits.
Obviously Georgia lawmakers are committed to reducing the number of fatalities that are caused by distracted drivers each year. Per the Hands-Free Law, if you are using hands-free technology while driving, you can only use it for voice- to- text messaging and cannot use it to view social media content or read and write emails. Electronic devices like cell phones cannot be used to view or record video footage while driving. A conviction can result in a fine of $50 and 1 point against your driver’s license for the first conviction, and a fine of $100 and 2 points on your record for a second conviction.
Avoid distractions at the wheel by going one step further by switching off your cell phone before you begin driving. The risk to your safety and the safety of others is just not worth it.
The Atlanta auto accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent victims of auto accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a car accident, talk to an attorney at our firm, and learn about your rights to compensation after an injury. Initial consultations are free.