Friday, April 30, 2010

Georgia Legislature Bans Texting While Driving

It’s a hot topic in the news these days – Texting While Driving, or TWD. After all, nearly every driver in the US owns or has regular access to a cell phone.

Even Oprah is using her platform to campaign against TWD / distracted driving. Oprah’s efforts against distracted driving have led to the designation of today, April 30, as National No Phone Zone Day. This morning, Oprah, together with Holly Robinson Peete, recorded her show at the Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech in Atlanta on this very topic. When this show airs (check your local listings), it will feature expert discussion on the dangers of distracted driving.

Just yesterday, both branches of the Georgia Legislature passed legislation restricting the use of cell phones while driving. These bills are expected to become law effective July 1, 2010, pending the signature of Gov. Sonny Perdue.

The bills, HB 23 and SB 360 (also known as the “Caleb Sorohan Act”) provide that no person, regardless of age, may use a telecommunications device to read, write or send any text based communication while driving. In addition, no drivers under age 18 or with a learner’s permit or Class D driver’s license may use any wireless telecommunications device for any purpose while operating a motor vehicle, including phone calls.

Violation of these provisions may result in a fines of up to $150 (which may be doubled if a collision results), points on the driving record and suspension of the driver’s license.

Prior to this law, in Georgia, the only prohibition was on school bus drivers – they are prohibited from using cellular phones while driving if passengers are present.

I am sure we can all appreciate the efforts being made by the Georgia Legislature (as well as many of the other states who have passed similar legislation) to make our roads safer for everyone. However, it is not only the responsibility of our law makers to make the roads safer. Instruct your children and other teen drivers about safe driving practices, including but not limited to TWD. Helpful tools can be found at and as well as many other websites. You can also view many PSA’s such as this (caution: video footage may be graphic) or this. I am sure we all have a thing or two to learn from these sources as well.