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Georgia Lawmaker Looks To Outlaw Distracted Driving

If the proposed Georgia bill becomes law, it will increase penalties for getting caught using hand-held devices while driving.
If the proposed Georgia bill becomes law, it will increase penalties for getting caught using hand-held devices while driving.
Credit Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press file
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State lawmakers will consider outlawing the use of hand-held electronic devices behind the wheel.

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State Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta, sponsored a bill to make Georgia the 16th state with hands-free driving laws.

“This really is the DUI issue of our generation,” Carson said. “This is by far a bigger issue in regards to crashes and in regards to fatalities right now.”

If Carson’s bill becomes law, it will increase penalties for getting caught using hand-held devices while driving. Right now, there’s a $150 fine. The proposal would more than double that and cost drivers points on their licenses.

Carson said Georgia’s current law isn’t good enough.

“Sheriff’s offices and police departments made it very clear to us that the texting law is ineffective,” he said. “Law enforcement simply cannot enforce the law. They simply don’t know whether or not a driver is texting or whether using the internet or whether they’re just simply dialing.”

Under the proposed bill, answering a call or hanging up and using your phone for GPS purposes would still be acceptable.

Georgia Department of Transportation statistics blame distracted driving for a 33 percent increase in traffic deaths in the state from 2014 to 2016.