How Dangerous is DWT (Driving While Texting) for Teens?

The Georgia legislative session ended on Friday April 3rd without a definitive ban on cell phone use while driving, even though Republicans introduced a bill to ban the dangerous practice for drivers ages 17 and younger. If Georgia had passed the bill, we would have joined seventeen other states and the District of Columbia in imposing cell phone restrictions on teenaged drivers.

While driving and talking on the cell phone is obviously a danger, lately the news has focused on driving and texting. A study conducted by Nationwide insurance concluded that at least 20% of drivers are sending or receiving text messages while behind the wheel – a truly frightening statistic.

Case in point, a sad incident involving driving and texting made headlines last June in Rochester, NY. Five girls who’d just graduated from high school together were killed in a collision with a tractor trailer. The teen driver of the girls’ vehicle was thought to have been texting at the time of the accident.

As of now, eight states (Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington and the District of Columbia) have imposed texting bans for all drivers, with just one more adding a cell phone ban for novice drivers such as Georgia lawmakers had proposed. In an interesting side note, the ACLU has gone on record as opposing bans on teen cell phone use, claiming that they single out a particular group and deny them freedoms. Other opponents of similar bills have put forth that cell phone laws will be almost impossible to enforce.

As for the Georgia bill that didn’t make it, Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City), who introduced the measure, said that it would keep teen drivers – and those sharing the road with them – safe from dangerous distractions. A caveat on the bill would have allowed some instances of cell phone use, but only to report dangerous situations or threatening road hazards.

According to the wording of the original bill, violators would have been fined up to $150 for the first offense and received one point on their driving records. Fines and points would have increased with subsequent violations. Drivers found at fault in an accident while violating the law would have had their licenses suspended for 90 days. Second offenders would have lost their licenses for six months. There is no word yet on whether Georgia lawmakers will reintroduce the bill during next year’s session. Currently, Georgia’s only definitive ban on cell phone use while driving applies to school bus drivers.

If you or anyone you know was injured in a car wreck due to a driver’s reckless behavior, you could have legal recourse. Call MLN Law at (404) 531-9700 for more information about your options in this serious matter.

What do you think of a cell phone ban for teen drivers? Are they a safety net or an erosion of freedoms? Do you know anyone who texts and drives?

The Georgia legislative session ended on Friday April 3rd without a definitive ban on cell phone use while driving, even though Republicans introduced a bill to ban the dangerous practice for drivers ages 17 and younger. If Georgia had passed the bill, we would have joined seventeen other states and the District of Columbia in imposing cell phone restrictions on teenaged drivers.

While driving and talking on the cell phone is obviously a danger, lately the news has focused on driving and texting. A study conducted by Nationwide insurance concluded that at least 20% of drivers are sending or receiving text messages while behind the wheel – a truly frightening statistic.

Case in point, a sad incident involving driving and texting made headlines last June in Rochester, NY. Five girls who’d just graduated from high school together were killed in a collision with a tractor trailer. The teen driver of the girls’ vehicle was thought to have been texting at the time of the accident.

As of now, eight states (Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington and the District of Columbia) have imposed texting bans for all drivers, with just one more adding a cell phone ban for novice drivers such as Georgia lawmakers had proposed. In an interesting side note, the ACLU has gone on record as opposing bans on teen cell phone use, claiming that they single out a particular group and deny them freedoms. Other opponents of similar bills have put forth that cell phone laws will be almost impossible to enforce.

As for the Georgia bill that didn’t make it, Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City), who introduced the measure, said that it would keep teen drivers – and those sharing the road with them – safe from dangerous distractions. A caveat on the bill would have allowed some instances of cell phone use, but only to report dangerous situations or threatening road hazards.

According to the wording of the original bill, violators would have been fined up to $150 for the first offense and received one point on their driving records. Fines and points would have increased with subsequent violations. Drivers found at fault in an accident while violating the law would have had their licenses suspended for 90 days. Second offenders would have lost their licenses for six months. There is no word yet on whether Georgia lawmakers will reintroduce the bill during next year’s session. Currently, Georgia’s only definitive ban on cell phone use while driving applies to school bus drivers.

If you or anyone you know was injured in a car wreck due to a driver’s reckless behavior, you could have legal recourse. Call MLN Law at (404) 531-9700 for more information about your options in this serious matter.

What do you think of a cell phone ban for teen drivers? Are they a safety net or an erosion of freedoms? Do you know anyone who texts and drives?