City votes to ban cellphones while driving

The city is hoping to push the rest of the state to follow suit

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The Smyrna City Council voted Tuesday night to ban drivers from using cellphones.

Drivers will not be able to hold a phone and talk while driving.

The City Council said it’s trying to put pressure on state lawmakers to pass legislation to address the rising number of fatalities on Georgia roads due to distracted driving.

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Council members said if the state passes a law, there will be no need for the city ordinance.

City councilman Derek Norton said he stood on a corner for several hours and counted drivers who had their cellphones in their hands and were not looking at the road.

"I stood on the corner of Atlanta Road at the community center for several hours ... I counted over 500," he said.

The vote was a 3 to 3 tie and the mayor cast the tie-breaking vote.

"We don't need 10 different communities coming up with these ordinances that are just a tad off here, a tad off there. It's going to be the most confused that you ever hoped for. We need to put pressure on the state to do their job," said council member Andrea Blustein, who voted against the ordinance.

The ordinance goes into effect April 2. For the first 45 days, drivers caught using a cellphone while driving in Smyrna will get off with a warning. After that, there will be a $150 fine.

"I want to make clear this is not a gotcha moment or a revenue generator," Norton said.

Some drivers agreed with the ban, but not with the fine.


"That's a lot of money. I think that's a little hefty," driver Pat Davis said.

"I'm on my phone all the time, but honestly I shouldn't be so I think it's a good thing," driver Amanda Fard said.

Some drivers wondered how the the ban will be enforced.

"How do you really prove that? I mean, I guess you're just driving around and you happen to see somebody holding one and you can just pull them over. That seems a little weird," driver Jeff Halter said.

Norton said they are waiting to see if state lawmakers will pass a law, that's why the ordinance will not be enforced until the end of the session. After that, signs about the cellphone ban will go up around the city.