Texting while driving ban hits one-year mark - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Texting while driving ban hits one-year mark

Georgia's law banning texting while driving went into effect one year ago, but it's rarely enforced.

Police need probable cause before they can pull over anyone. Officers say it needs to be tightened before we see any big effect in this law.

Police have issued a handful of citations because it's hard to prove that drivers were actually texting.

However, I spoke to one young driver today who says he used to text while driving but once he heard about the new law he quit.

Every time Rashad Clark gets in his car, his keypad is off limits.

"It's just so dangerous and it just makes you not want to do it," said Clark.

He doesn't text. He doesn't want to pay the $100 fine. The danger alone is not worth the risk.

"Yeah people multi-task thinking they have everything under control until you get into that accident,"Clark added.

Capt. Tom Jackson, with DoughertyCounty Police, says the law has good intentions but needs to be stricter.

"It's got to be tightened," said Jackson. "There's probably going to come a time where we'll have to restrict cell phone usage in the car."

Officers must have probable cause to pull someone over. There's a gray area. It's hard to tell whether someone is texting or simply dialing a phone number.

"With the law written the way it is, we can't just say we see you with a cell phone and bam pull you over and make a stop," Capt. Jackson noted.

Jackson says the law was written to help teens and other drivers devote their full attention to the road.

"They don't realized it divides their attention and that's the whole reason the law was made," Capt. Jackson added.

Police say the law is a good idea, but needs to be more stringent. If everyone could abide by the law the way Clark says he does the roads could be a lot safer.

Georgia is one of 30 states that enforces the ban.

In Georgia, drivers under 18 are not allowed to use cell phone at all while driving unless it's an emergency.

You can find more on managing distracted driving here.

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