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How Georgia’s new driving laws affect the school year

Children are not the only ones who feel agitated about going back to school. The beginning of the school year means more cars, buses and pedestrians to deal with in the driveways. Needless to say, many Georgia drivers are not happy about adding 10 or 20 more minutes to their daily traffic.

However, the state has passed several new laws this year that changes how drivers should approach the school year. Some laws are harsher than before while others are more lenient. Given how children are some of the more common victims in pedestrian crashes, it is important for Georgia parents to be aware of the new requirements that drivers must follow.

Hands-free driving could lead to less distraction.

This year, Georgia joins a number of states in having a hands-free law. This means that motorists cannot hold a phone in their hands to talk or text while driving unless it is an emergency situation. As phone usage is one of the most popular forms of distracted driving, Georgia lawmakers are hoping this will decrease the amount of accidents it typically causes.

While there are more forms of distracted driving and this will likely not stop everyone from using their phones behind the wheel, it is beneficial to know the state is enforcing their stance against the ongoing problem.

Drivers no longer have to stop on turn lanes during bus stops.

Not all of the new laws focus on enforcing current issues. Recently, the state approved the controversial House Bill 978. This means that drivers going in the opposite direction of the bus no longer have to halt if a bus stops to load or unload near a turn lane. Before, it was only applicable to areas that had grass or concrete medians. Additionally, drivers who break the rules when passing a stopped school bus will only pay $250 for multiple offenses rather than $1,000.

This decision was met with heavy criticism as many citizens believe this puts the child more at risk. It can potentially decrease a driver’s liability if they hit your kid in these areas.

There might be more cameras than cops.

Another controversial choice of House Bill 978 is that any school can now install speed-detection cameras within their vicinities. If these cameras catch a driver speeding in a school zone, the motorist will receive a $75 fine for the first time and $125 for every subsequent offense. While most of the schools have not installed these cameras yet, there are a number discussing potentially setting them up. Many have criticized this enforcement for how much it could cost while others see it as a way to minimize child deaths on school property.

Whether these laws will prevent or increase the amount of pedestrian deaths remains to be seen. Regardless, if your child suffers from a motor vehicle accident, you should seek a personal injury attorney to help you compensate for the damage.

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