by: Richard Elliot Updated:
ATLANTA - Some lawmakers think making it illegal to drive while talking on a cellphone without a hands-free device could bring down the accident fatality rate in Georgia.
State Rep. Betty Price of Roswell is pushing a bill that would make driving while talking on a cellphone without using a hands-free device a ticketable offense with a $150 fine. Similar bills have failed in the past few years.
Georgia law enforcement officers believe distracted driving is a big reason fatal-accident numbers have risen at an alarming rate over the past few years.
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Atlanta resident Maggie Kuhn was a victim of a distracted driver. She supports the bill.
“It was just a fender bender,” said Kuhn. “We were stopped at a red light, and I guess they were texting and eased off the brake, and they bumped me. It should be a given. It shouldn’t have to be legislated, but, you know, for safety, I think it’s fine.”
Texting and driving is already illegal in Georgia. This bill would extend that to cellphones without a hands-free device.
It would apply to all cellphones, text messaging devices, personal digital assistants and stand-alone computers. It would not apply to CB radios, commercial two-way communications devices, navigation devices or in-vehicle security.
The bill passed a House committee earlier this week, so it will head to the full House for a vote.
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