Teen Drivers: Put the Phone Away or Pay in Georgia

Distracted driving has many forms, but for teen drivers, one of the most dangerous is texting. Texting combines visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. According to NHTSA, since 2007, drivers 16 to 24 year olds are at greater risk for distracted driving crashes, many due to messaging and texting. 

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving technology distraction, you may find it helpful to talk to an experienced Marietta personal injury lawyer.

What is the Georgia Law About Texting?

The Hands-Free Georgia Act outlines clear restrictions for stand-alone electronic devices and wireless devices. This applies to all drivers and is especially critical for teen drivers.

Raise Awareness About Distracted Driving in Georgia

In April 2024, you will see NHTSA’s new message: Put the Phone Away or Pay. While every month is a month for awareness, April is a time when you’ll see an increase in police enforcing texting and distracted driving laws. 

Put the Phone Away or Pay informs the public of the dangers to drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and other vehicles. According to NHTSA, five percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. 6% of drivers aged 15 to 20 were reported as distracted. In 2022, there were 3,308 people killed and an estimated 289,310 injured in traffic accidents involving distracted drivers.

Distracted Driving Prevention for Teens in Georgia

In 2021, 2,608 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver. According to an overview on Teen Driving by NHTSA, teens are more susceptible to distraction, and one in three teens who text say they have texted while driving. 

Research confirms that dialing a phone number while driving increases the risk of crashing by six times, and texting while driving, increases the risk by 23 times. 

If you are a parent of a teen driver, you can help prevent accidents by taking an active role in helping your teen understand the responsibilities of driving. 

Share the statistics and stories about teen driving. Familiarize yourself with state guidelines, such as the Hands-Free Georgia Act. Enforce the guidelines to help keep your teen safe. 

A study analyzed by the NHTSA found teen drivers were two and a half times more likely to engage in potentially risky behaviors when driving with a teen peer. The same study showed that when traveling with multiple passengers, teen drivers were three times more likely to engage in risky behaviors than when traveling alone. 

Experts recommend setting your own rules if necessary such as restricting the number of passengers or limiting hours for driving. If guidelines are not followed, parents may choose to increase consequences, such as suspending driving privileges, limiting places, or imposing expanded time limits. 

Parents can set examples by practicing safe driving, never texting, and putting the cell phone in the trunk or designating a passenger to be the phone ambassador.

Safety Tips for Teen Drivers in Georgia

NHTSA offers practical tips that promote safe, focused driving, including:

  • Appointing a passenger to be “the designated texter” to respond to calls or messages.
  • Activating your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” function
  • Silence notifications so you won’t be tempted to answer
  • Put the phone in the trunk of the car
  • Speak up if someone is texting and driving and insist they put the phone away
  • If you must text, pull to a designated safe parking place and put the car in park before reading or sending a text.

How Teen Drivers Can Stay Safe in Georgia

If you are a teen driver or have one in your family, stay safe by promoting focused driving. If you have been involved in an incident involving teen distracted driving, you may want to consider speaking with an experienced lawyer to understand your rights.

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