ATLANTA -- Georgia drivers would face stiff penalties under a new bill restricting the use of cell phones in cars and trucks. The law would toughen up an existing law that police say is mostly unenforceable.
The measure was introduced to the public at an event at the state Capitol, filled with people whose loved ones had died in traffic -- either because they took their eyes off the road to use a cell phone – or because another motorist had become catastrophically distracted. Kathy Clark’s daughter Emily was a nursing student whose car was crushed by a tractor trailer on I-16. The driver told police he hadn't seen that the traffic in front of him had stopped. Clark spoke on behalf of the bill.
The bill would allow police greater leeway to make distracted driving cases. Motorists would be allowed one touch or swipe to make a call, one touch to take a call. It would allow use of GPS. It would not allow cell phones to be used by hand, and would impose stiff fines and points that would increase for each subsequent violation.
"This is the DUI issue of our generation," said Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta), the bill's sponsor. Carson led a task force in 2017 that examined distracted driving issues in Georgia.
Police say the current law is difficult to enforce because it requires officers to see cell phones in plain sight.