Politics

Holding Phone While Driving Banned Under Bill Set To Pass Ga. Legislature

Mothers of individuals killed by distracted drivers have advocated for passage of the "hands free" Georgia bill.
Mothers of individuals killed by distracted drivers have advocated for passage of the "hands free" Georgia bill.
Credit Johnny Kauffman / WABE
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Despite earlier criticism from top Republicans, a bill is now set to pass the state Legislature that would ban people in Georgia from holding their cellphones while driving in most situations.

Fifteen other states have laws like the one Georgia legislators are considering, and based on data from those states, supporters of the bill (HB 673) estimate if it becomes law, driving fatalities would drop by 20 percent annually, amounting to 300 lives.

“Texting and driving, distracted driving, is an unacceptable behavior and will not be accepted in this state,” said Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Natalie Bacho said her daughter was killed by someone driving and using a phone.

“The passage of House Bill 673 into law will save lives and families from having to live the life that we do today. No one is immune,” Bacho said.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said previously that the bill might have a hard time making it through the state Senate.

But Cagle’s office has now made clear he supports the version of the bill that was recently amended in a Senate committee.

“The Lt. Governor is appreciative of the committee’s deliberative work in advancing this bill,” Danny Kanso, Cagle’s press secretary, said in an email. “We hope to see it approved by the full Senate next week.”