‘No phone’ zone for teen drivers; texting while driving banned for everybody


Separate ban enacted for drivers who text, email, instant message or surf Internet

Georgia drivers under 18 will face a $150 fine for using their cellphone while driving, and drivers of all ages will face fines for texting, instant messaging, emailing or surfing the Internet behind the wheel, beginning July 1.

The new rules of the road were adopted Thursday in two separate bills approved by the Georgia legislature.

The teen driver cellphone ban could have a potential impact on Peachtree City’s path system because Georgia law recognizes golf carts as motor vehicles.

While police may find it difficult to enforce the law on regular automobile traffic, teens won’t have many places to “hide” their phones while driving on the cart path.

Should a driver under 18 be found to have used a cellphone in the course of a motor vehicle accident, the fine is doubled to $300 under the new law. The teen cellphone ban would also exact a one point deduction under the state’s “point system” rating licensed drivers.

Violation of the all-age prohibition on texting, emailing, instant messaging and web surfing while driving will net a fine of between $50 and $100 according to the statute approved by the general assembly.

Both bills will go into effect July 1, presuming they are signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Rep. Matt Ramsey of Peachtree City, who sponsored the teen driver cellphone ban, said both bills result in major safety improvements on Georgia roads. Ramsey proposed the bill last year several months after a texting teen nearly collided with his vehicle on Peachtree Parkway south of Booth Middle School.