Lawmakers pass bill that makes holding your phone while driving illegal

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – It’s already illegal in the state of Georgia to text and drive. Well, now state lawmakers have taken it a step further with a bill that would make even just holding your phone while driving against the law.

“With all the technology it’s obviously a blessing but there’s also consequences to it,” said Lt. Scott Davis with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Division.

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Driving with a cellphone in hand now comes at a price–and higher risk of getting pulled over.

“Nobody wants a ticket, there’s no thrill in doing it but that piece of paper could be the difference between somebody being seriously injured or losing their life,” said Davis.

State lawmakers passed House Bill 673 on Thursday, which would make it illegal to drive while holding any electronic device that could distract a person from the road.



“This is going to help people focus more on their driving and what they’re doing behind the wheel versus the text…the emails,” Davis added.

That includes texting, phone calls and using GPS–just a few major causes of accidents one woman says she sees all too often as an insurance adjuster.

“People driving down the street having full text conversations, snap chatting, and everything else while they’re driving,” said “Nikki” the woman who wanted to remain anonymous.

Lt. Scott Davis with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office’s Traffic Division says he believes the new law will lead to more traffic stops.

“The law as it’s written now with just the mere possession in your hands is considered a distraction and we’ll be making cases on that..the whole state of Georgia law enforcement in general will be making that case,” Davis told 41NBC.

So, going hands free or using Bluetooth if your car has it may be the safest option for everyone.

Before, officers could only pull a person over based on traffic violations and then determine if distractions were involved. Now, no matter how well you’re following the rules of the road, if you’re seen with a phone in hand, you will be stopped.

The bill with amendments passed in both houses last Thursday. Right now it’s awaiting Governor Nathan Deal’s signature to become state law.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2015, almost 3500 people were killed in distracted driving accidents and almost 400,000 were injured.