Texting at the wheel law has an effect - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Texting at the wheel law has an effect

By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

Lee County, GA (WALB) –  It may just be working. Law enforcement officers say they are seeing fewer people texting and driving since a ban went into effect. And they're hopeful that people will continue to follow the law that will save lives.

The law was signed into affect July 1st, but state troopers spent one month educating the public on the laws before they actually started enforcing the rules in august.

The law prohibits drivers from texting or emailing from their cell phones while driving, and drivers under the age of 18 to talk on a phone will driving.

It's not just speeders, DUI's and seat belt violators anymore, officers are now on the lookout for people texting while driving.

"Texting and driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs," said Lee Co. Sheriff's Captain Keith Houston.

Now officers can pull you over if you are texting while waiting at a red light, or stopped in a turn lane.

"If you are driving and someone comes up beside you not thinking about the new law its pretty easy to catch them that way,"

But ever since the law went into effect July 1st, officers say they notice a difference. "We have noticed that since the law came out people are not texting and driving like they were before," said Captain Houston.

He thinks it is because people are finally realizing the dangers. "If you are driving 65 miles per hour and you take your eyes off the road you run approx 300 feet that takes your eyes off the road for quite some time," he said.

But its not just texting and driving that's illegal. Now teen drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones while driving.

"I'm glad they imposed the law and I respect it and other people respect it as well," said driver John Lennon.

Captain Houston thinks ipods, GPS, and other electronic devices shouldn't be used on the roads, either. "You just can't go down the road thumbing through. That its basically the same thing as texting."

His piece of advice to drivers tempted to text and drive, pull over because no text message is worth your life.

Officers say if there is an accident, and texting and driving appears to be a factor, an officer can subpoena your cell phone records for evidence.

If you do get a citation for texting and driving, expect to pay a fine of $150, and a point will be added to your drivers license.

Another cell phone law in Georgia is the school bus driver law, which prohibits a school bus driver from using a cell phone or any communication device while there are one or more children or passengers on the bus.

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