Governor signs bill into law
Governor Perdue has signed the texting while driving bill passed by the General Assembly into law. On July 1, texting while driving will be illegal for all Georgia drivers, and young drivers with provisional licenses will be banned from any cellphone use behind the wheel. If caught a violation can cost the driver $150 and a point on their driving record.
But the texting ban is likely to change. As Gov. Sonny Perdue signed the two bills Friday, he said the texting part was unclear, and that legislators had promised to go back at the bill in next year’s legislative session.
Perdue said that criminalizing the act of looking at a phone screen while driving could lead to a rise in lawsuits and prosecutions.
One of the bills signed Friday (HB 23) applies only to drivers under 18 who have provisional licenses. Those drivers may not text, talk on a cellphone, or even listen to one.
A second bill (SB 360) applies to underage drivers with normal licenses, and all adult drivers. It only bans texting, including reading texts: “using a wireless telecommunications device to write, send or read any text based communication.”
Using a CB radio or navigation devices or making emergency calls on the road is still legal.
Georgia now joins several other states in banning texting while driving. Oprah Winfrey is also spearheading an effort to ban texting while driving nationally.