Just What's In Those Texting And Driving Bills?

9:33 PM, Mar 29, 2010   |    comments
New Georgia bills would ban texting and driving
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ATLANTA - State lawmakers are moving closer to outlawing texting and driving in Georgia over the next few weeks.

Right now there are two different bills in the legislature, but what do they say?

The first is SB 360, which passed the State Senate unanimously on March 18, 2010.

It's known as the "Caleb Sorohan Act for Saving Lives by Preventing Texting While Driving".

The 18-year-old Morgan County High School graduate died last December when he crashed his car head-on into a truck while texting and driving.

SB 360 would ban texting while driving for all ages, has a $150 fine and would deny a class C drivers' license for any teenage violator (under 18) after a second conviction.

The second bill, HB 938, passed the State House last Friday evening by a 134-31 vote.

It bans texting and driving by all ages, but also bans cell phone use by teenage drivers (under 18).

All drivers would be subject to a $50-100 fine, but teenage drivers would also face 2 points on their license.

HB 938 also would double the fine and suspend the license of anyone who causes a wreck while texting and driving.

One frequently asked question is whether the ban applies to drivers while their vehicle is standing still, such as at a traffic light.

The House bill says while "operating a vehicle" so the presumption is that if you're on the road and in traffic, even sitting still, it would apply.

The House version exempts texting behind the wheel while sitting still in a parking lot.

Other exemptions include CB, commercial or hobby radios (like Ham radios), GPS devices and in case of an emergency.

Both bills must still pass the other half of the legislature and be signed by the governor before becoming law.

Both would go into effect on July 1.

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