Distracted Driving and Barriers to Healthcare
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, September 29, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler
When Representative John Carson’s H.R. 282 passed March 30th, it authorized a House Study Committee on Distracted Driving. That ten-member committee appointed by Speaker Ralston met for the first time August 28th in the Coverdell Legislative Office building across from the Capitol and will meet at least four more times across the state – in Warner Robbins September 25th; in Savannah October 10th; in Alpharetta October 30th; and in Tifton November 7th.
Meetings are scheduled across the state to encourage the greatest number of residents to attend, publicly express their opinions about distracted driving, and recommend actions to improve the situation.
H.R. 282 says the increase in drivers over the past six years caused the number of accidents per 100 insured vehicles to increase, as well, but no mention was made of the number of accidents by uninsured vehicles. Fatal auto accidents are rising in Georgia at almost three times the national average and deaths on Georgia highways are at their highest level since 2007.Distracted driving, which is a major traffic safety issue, is thought to be the most probable cause for the increase. The facts are simple: Over 220 million people in the United States subscribe to wireless services; some have multiple wireless devices; and about 80 percent use their phones and other technology while driving, which is the most common concern.
All of these meetings are open to the public. To express an opinion and get on the speakers’ list for the meeting, contact committee chairman Representative John Carson at 404 656-0287. Representative Carson will lead the study to determine whether Georgia law should require more restrictions on using technology while driving and report the findings by December 1st. Appropriate action, including possible legislation, will be recommended for the 2018 session.
Senator Renee Unterman chairs a nine-member Senate committee authorized by S.R. 188 to study Barriers to Adequate Healthcare in the state. Georgia is one of 12 states that restrict the use of advanced practice registered nurses, 79 counties have no OB/GYN physician, 63 counties have no pediatrician, 33 counties have no internal medicine physician, and six counties have no family physician, although all may be accessed in neighboring counties.
Call Senator Unterman at 404 463-1368 to learn when and where she’ll have her next meeting and, if you like, you may register to speak before the committee. For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.