Great Hang Up: Bans On Hand-Held Phone Use

11:51 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
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Less than three years after banning texting while driving, some Georgia lawmakers want to take all hand-held phones off the roads.

Ten other states have passed similar laws.

California adopted the ban on hand-held phones in Juny 2008, but just last year, the California State Police still wrote over 11,000 citations.

An administrator told 13WMAZ that number rises every year because troopers are getting better at enforcement.

Former Golden State driver Doron Dvorack, who now lives in Macon, says it's also because many drivers still haven't changed their habits.

"I knew drivers who did it anyway," he says. "I mean, the first thing you did when you got a phone call was you went searching for your phone and, you know, 'hey, how's it going?' I think a bigger problem was now with the big screens and everything else, just apps and Facebook."

The Oregon State Police Department says they, too, have seen an increase in citations since their law passed in 2010, but they've also seen a drop in the number of accidents related to phone use.

Captain Charlie Gunnels with the Bibb County Sheriff's Office says he thinks the law will make a larger impact in Georgia than the texting ban alone.

"If you stop someone for texting," says Gunnels, "they will tell you 'I wasn't texting. I was looking in my phone book for a phone number,' which is not against the law as the law stands now. So, we're pretty much handicapped with the way the law is written right now."

Under the proposed law from Representative Rahn Mayo of Decatur, Georgia drivers would be limited to using things like bluetooths, headphones, or even just the phone's speaker.

Mayo's bill had it's first reading in the House of Representatives earlier this month.

The same day, another legislator, "Coach" Williams from Avondale Estates, dropped a similar measure.

That proposal calls for a $150 fine for violators, but both bills leave room for exceptions like emergency calls.

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