Governor Ponders Texting Ban

6:06 PM, Jun 1, 2010   |    comments
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  • Allen Peake

Time's running out for Gov. Sonny Perdue to decide whether to sign into law a bill that would make it illegal to text while driving.

In this year's legislative session, state Rep. Allen Peake of Macon became the primary mover and shaker in getting the anti-texting while driving bill through the General Assembly.

Peake said Tuesday he's heard that Perdue's reluctant to sign the bill, saying it would be difficult to enforce. That worries Peake, especially since there's only a week left for Perdue to sign it.

The governor has until June 8 either to sign the bill or veto it.

"I am concerned that he has expressed reservations about it," said Peake, a Macon Republican. "But I'm also confident that the public wants this, and I think he's going to feel a lot of response from the public regarding it."

Like the governor, Macon Police Lt. Eric Woodford has reservations about the texting bill.

"One of the challenges that law enforcement would have, I think, would be how do we prove it? How do we stop a car and say you were texting?" Woodford said.

Law enforcement needs an easly enforceable law, said Woodford, head of the Macon's traffic department.

"I think it needs to be a cut and dry situation," Woodford said. "Either you have the phone in the car, either make it a no-phone zone of some sort, or go back and give guidelines on how they think we can enforce what they're trying to do."

But Peake isn't giving up on getting the current bill signed into law. He's asking supporters of the bill to let the governor's office know how they feel.

"I think the governor's office needs to hear from citizens who do feel that this is an important piece of legislation," Peake said. "So I would encourage people to call the governor's office, let them know that this is a bill that should be signed by him."

Spokesman Bert Brantley said Perdue's still talking to both supporters and critics of the bill and that he hasn't shown signs of leaning for or against the texting bill.

A separate cell phone bill also awaits Perdue's signature. That bill would ban teen drivers under 18 from using cell phones behind the wheel for any purpose, including texting.

If signed, drivers who violate either law could face a $150 fine and a one-pointpenalty on their license.

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