Currently in Georgia, the law permits drivers to use their cell phones for talking only. Should a driver get caught using it for texting or any other reason, the penalties are not especially significant. Georgia, some argue, could greatly benefit from a stricter law when it comes to distracted driving in general and cell phone use in particular.

Legislators, they suggest, should look to the example set by other states such as New York according to WSB-TV Atlanta. New York has a hands-free law in place that is much tougher than Georgia’s law. Drivers in New York can be ticketed for having their cell phones in their hands and the penalties are much harsher than those in Georgia.

This tough approach in New York appears to be making a difference. The number of tickets issued has increased 840 percent since the law was enacted five years ago. Law enforcement has adopted strategies such as riding in trucks that sit higher so that officers have a better vantage point to see drivers who are holding cell phones. However, the message does not seem to be sinking in quite as much when it comes to younger drivers who rely on their cell phones and the ability to text much more than their older counterparts.

Distracted driving is a widespread problem in Georgia. It is estimated that 75 percent of highway fatalities in the state last year were caused by bad driving behaviors according to WRBL. That is why law enforcement in Georgia is undertaking a large crackdown on distracted driving, and zeroing in on cell phone use specifically. It remains to be seen whether changes will be adopted at the legislative level, but hopefully stricter enforcement of the laws that are in place will deter people from using their phones while driving and possibly even save lives.