Georgia lawmaker wants hands-free law

ATLANTA – A state lawmaker has filed a bill to require all drivers to use a hands-free device while behind the wheel.

State Representative John Carson, R-Marietta, Chairman of the House Study Committee on Distracted Driving,  introduced House Bill 673.

“Because of the alarming increase in automobile accidents and fatalities in our state, it is critical that state lawmakers pass hands-free driving legislation as quickly as possible,” Carson said in a news release. “Distracted driving is a serious public safety issue, and it is proven that the use of mobile devices while driving has amplified this problem. I believe this measure will ultimately save lives by protecting Georgia’s citizens on our roadways and decreasing the number of auto accidents. I encourage all Georgians to contact their state legislators in support of this bill.”

City leaders in Smyrna, Ga., this month voted yesterday to prohibit drivers from using handheld mobile telephones or portable electronic devices while behind the wheel.

Under the proposed state measure, Georgia drivers would be permitted to touch or swipe their mobile devices once to initiate a call and once again to terminate a call while operating a vehicle. Drivers would also be allowed to use their mobile devices for GPS and navigation but on a hands-free basis.

This legislation would also increase Georgia’s current distracted driving fine of $150 to $300 to $450 for the first citation, $400 to $650 for the second citation and $650 to $900 for the third and subsequent citations. Fines would be at the discretion of a judge dependent on the severity of the offense.

Additionally, under this measure, points against a license for distracted driving would increase from one point currently to three points on the first citation and four points for every subsequent citation. The measure would also adjust the distracted driving penalties for any resulting manslaughter or severe bodily injury to mirror those of Georgia’s drunk driving laws.

For more information on the House Study Committee on Distracted Driving, please click here.

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