Last week Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a new bill requiring all pickup truck drivers in Georgia to wear seatbelts while driving their trucks. The bill takes direct aim at persons who die and are injured in truck accidents each year. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, there were more than 70,000 auto accidents involving pickup trucks in Georgia last year. These killed 187 drivers and 40 passengers and resulted in a large number of personal injuries. Many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented if a law had required all pickup truck drivers to buckle up.
Wearing seatbelts should be a matter of common sense, and not a law. It shouldn’t require a law to get pickup truck drivers to do the one thing that could dramatically reduce their chances of injuries or death in a truck accident. However, legislators in rural Georgia have always managed to scuttle any proposal to require seatbelts for pickup truck drivers despite the number of injuries and death caused by truck accidents each year.
With this new law, Georgia will not only manage to save lives and prevent injuries every year, but will also be eligible for federal highway funds. For years, Georgia has lost out on its share of federal funds, because of its failure to enact mandatory seatbelt laws for all.
Although the bill goes into effect immediately, officers will not begin handing out tickets until next month. That means that pickup truck drivers still have time to familiarize themselves with the new law. If you’re driving a pickup truck, but not wearing a seatbelt, troopers will pull you over.They will give you a warning and not a ticket.
The new law still exempts pickup truck drivers who use their vehicles for agricultural purposes. However, all other pickup truck drivers including those who use their vehicles for work or for commuting purposes, will have to begin buckling up immediately.
The Atlanta injury lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent injured victims of auto accidents in and around the metro Atlanta area, and across Georgia.