Keep your eyes on the road

Published 7:37 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2018

There’s nothing more tempting when a notification light blinks on your phone for a new text message while you’re driving. Texting and driving is dangerous, but it is something we can all admit we’ve done once or twice.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,450 people died in 2016 due to distracted driving, and 319 were injured in 2015. Approximately 481,000 people use their cell phones while driving during the day, according to the NHTSA.

Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal signed the Hands-Free Driving Law, which will make driving with a phone in hand illegal on July 1. All forms of communication, including talking, texting, sending email or using the internet are illegal under the new law. The law also prohibits recording video.

Using handsfree device such as Bluetooth and GPS are still legal.

In Troup County, Georgia State Patrol will have a 90-day grace period and will then make cases against violators. The first offense is a $50 fine and one point to a driver’s license, the second offense is a $100 fine and third offense is a $150 fine. Drivers can only have 15 points on their licenses in two years.

The new law is a good way to take a stance against distracted driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three main types of distraction — visual, taking your eyes off the road; manual, taking hands off the wheel; and cognitive, taking your mind off of driving.

Staring at your phone does all three. Keep your eyes on the road. Driving involves being aware of your surroundings and other drivers.

According to the CDC, about nine people are killed and 1,000 are injured in crashes involving distracted driving every day. While there are other ways to drive distracted, such as eating, applying makeup and having loud music or passengers, the new law is a good step forward toward safe driving.

We urge drivers to obey the law. If not, they might be pulled over or, worse, involved in an accident.