State lawmaker proposes hands-free calling bill for drivers

- One Georgia lawmaker wants to make it illegal for drivers to make phone calls behind the wheel without using a hands-free device.

Rep. Keisha Waites, D-Atlanta, pre-filed House Bill 7 on November 15 ahead of the 2017 legislative session. 

"I think that when you look at the number of fatalities we have, certainly there's a need to put some [...] measures in place," explained Waites.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 1432 people died on state highways and public roads in 2015.  That was the highest number since 2008.

Under HB 7, drivers caught making a phone call without a hands-free device would face a fine of $150. 

People using a handset to call 911 to report a traffic accident, crime or another life-threatening emergency would be exempt from the law.  First responders would also be allowed to make calls while driving as part of their jobs. 

"We are one of those societies that our mobile phones are very much a part of our lives and so my goal is to make sure that while we're using these apparatuses is that we're using them in a safe way and I think it's a very small price to pay for convenience when we talk about saving lives," said Rep. Waites.

Lawmakers will decide whether to pursue the bill when they convene at the state capitol in January. 


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