Lawmakers Weigh Fine Increase For Distracted Driving

Police: Distracted Driving Bigger Problem Than DUI

Georgia drivers are still using their cell phones despite a concerted effort to educate people about the dangers and now one Lawmaker wants to hit them where it hurts if caught, right square in the pocketbook.

There’s a proposal in the Georgia House to crack down and increase those fines for distracted drivers doubling them for the first, second, and third offense. A fifty dollar fine for distracted driving is apparently not much of a deterrent to drivers.   Columbus Patrol Lt. Lance Deaton tells First News the number of incidents involving distracted driving is staggering compared to driving under the influence.

Despite all the creative ways the Columbus Police Department has tried to discourage distracted driving, it’s still a problem. “What we see throughout the course of the year is that a lot of the everyday accidents that are being worked in this town are related to distracted driving and caused by distracted driving,” Lt. Deaton said.

Representative John Carson of Marietta thinks increasing the fines will force drivers to slow their roll. Currently first time offenders pay just fifty dollars , $100 for the second offense and $150 for the third offense. Under the proposal those fines would double.

Local police declined to comment specifically on the legislation but noted distracted driving is a bigger public safety issue than driving under the influence. “I do think distracted driving is hard to calculate because that can be caused by so many different things however I do think what we are seeing and what you’ll continue to see is that distracted driving could become or very well may already be just as dangerous and just as critical as driving under the influence,” Lt. Deaton said.

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee will take up the proposal again at the end of this week but there is opposition from those who say the fines are already too steep.


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