New law prohibits texting and driving

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Many of us are guilty of texting while driving, but starting this week Georgia drivers will have to pay for the bad habit.

Barber's Driving School instructor Al Barber told News Leader Nine, "Texting while driving is like putting a paper bag over your head, getting behind the wheel and driving down the highway. You have no vision which is imperative to stay out of collisions."

Starting July 1st it will be illegal for any Georgia driver to text while driving and anyone under the age of 18 to use a cell phone while behind the wheel of a car.

"Our unit will be aggressively enforcing any new traffic law that comes on the books. We will have spotters out looking for young people texting and/or using a cell phone and we'll make traffic stops at that time," said Lt. Mark D. Starling with the Columbus Police Department's Motor Squad.

If caught, motorists will pay a $150 fine for texting while driving. Some teens we spoke to say forking over the cash isn't worth the risk.

"You could save lives and I don't think people want to pay $150," said 17 year old driver Brandon Copeland.

Qunience Sims added, "I wouldn't text and drive because money doesn't grow on trees, my mom always says that. And we're teens driving and it comes with responsibility."

"You've got to have some sting of the law or punitive action along with legislation or it's impotent," said Barber, who teaches teens about the dangers they face when getting behind the wheel.

While many states have taken more drastic steps by banning cell phone use for all drivers, the Georgia legislature hopes this new law will be the first step in preventing accidents.

Barber added, "It's a step in the right direction. As far as texting, it's well overdue. I cannot tell you the number of collisions that we know of that are people text messaging and driving."

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