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New GA Legislation Seeks to Ban Texting While Driving

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By Kamika Dunlap on January 20, 2010 9:15 AM

Georgia is on the verge of joining several other states who already ban texting while driving.

Georgia would become the 20th state to ban texting while driving if the legislation passes

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, State Republicans Allen Peake and Amos Amerson introduced bills in the Georgia House that would prohibit the practice and come with a fine and driver's license penalties.

Under Peake's bill, HB 938, anyone found guilty of writing, sending or reading a text message while driving would be fined $50 to $100 and have two points placed on his driver's license. Amerson's bill would set the fine at $300.

Peake acknowledges however the new law would be tough to enforce but it could cost drivers who get caught at least a $50 fine and two penalty points on their driver's licenses would be a deterrent.

AAA Auto Club South is backing the bill. The company's senior officials say the ban on texting is AAA's top legislative priority.

Colorado, Louisiana, New York, Virginia and Washington are among the 19 states that ban text messages for all drivers. Nine states ban text messaging for teen drivers.

As previously discussed, North Carolina also recently banned texting while driving. North Carolina drivers who text behind the wheel could owe $100 in fines.

As previously discussed in Findlaw's Common Law, about 97 percent of Americans support a ban on texting while driving, according to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll.

Recently, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stepped up his campaign against texting while driving. He said he favored rewarding states that banned texting while driving and would support legislation to deny federal funds to states that permit cellphone texting in cars.

FocusDriven is a new non-profit partially sponsored by sponsored by the Department of Transportation. The group hopes to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

If the new Georgia law passes, it would go into effect July 1.

A bill aimed just at teen drivers and also focused on talking on a cell phone while driving failed to pass last year.

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