In an effort to cut down on auto accidents from distracted driving, Georgia and five other states have just enacted new texting while driving bans.
The Department of Transportation found that in 2008, almost 6,000 people died in crashes related to distracted driving, while 500,000 others were injured.
As of July 1, Thursday, Georgia banned cell phone use for all drivers under the age of 18, and prohibited text messaging for drivers of any age.
Twenty-eight states have now adopted laws that prohibit texting for everyone behind the wheel.
Georgia violators will find themselves facing a $150 fine as well as a one point assessment against their driver’s license. It was determined a higher fine sent a clearer message to violators. Fines around the country rage from $20 to $750.
In the Florida 2010 legislative session, several bills were proposed in both the House and Senate to prohibit texting while driving and help lower the amount of cell phone accidents in Florida. All were tied up and died in committee on April 30th. Even Heather’s Law died in committee. It was named after a young woman who was killed by a texting driver and prohibited the use of a cell phone while driving except for those drivers using a headset or hands-free device.
Heather’s Law would have allowed enforcement only as a secondary offense. Even with all of those stipulations and restrictions, the cell phone lobby kept Florida in the ranks of the shrinking number of states that still allow texting while driving.
Others include South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota.