SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The advances the automotive industry has made in cars is remarkable. I remember my first car, a 1973 Chevy Impala, and I was just thrilled to finally drive a car with power steering. I still had to hand crank the windows up and down and manually control the locks.
Now cars can stop for us, park for us, warn us if we're crossing over into the wrong lane and alert us when there are other cars in our blind spots. And the fact of the matter is, self-driving cars are a reality.
Yet with all those advances, here in Georgia, crashes are up more than 36 percent and fatalities are up 34 percent over the past couple years. The explanation is quite simple. Despite cars becoming safer, we make them more dangerous by being distracted by our devices.
We talk, we text, we seek directions. We do everything but focus on what we're supposed to be focused on.
All of that could soon change if House Bill 673 makes its way through the legislature and onto Governor Nathan Deal's desk. This bill will ban all hand-held operation of a phone while driving, and those caught doing so would pay a hefty fine. Georgia currently has an anti-texting law, but that is nearly impossible to enforce as officers can't tell whether a driver is texting which is banned or dialing which currently isn't. In fact, since Georgia banned texting while driving eight years ago, accidents have actually increased instead of decreasing.
Consider this: Georgia must become a hands-free state and South Carolina needs to follow suit. Last year more than 1,500 people lost their lives on Georgia roads and it is estimated that upwards of 10 percent of those can be attributed to distracted driving.
With the advances in Bluetooth technology, there's no reason anyone should be holding a phone while driving.
That's why we need House Bill 673 to become law. It's common sense that will save lives.