The House declared texting while driving illegal for drivers of all ages, voting 134-31 in favor of HB 938.
The bill by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) makes it illegal to text while driving, but will not affect drivers’ right to use navigation devices, even if they are hand-held.
The bill as originally written only applied to teen drivers but an amendment extended the ban to drivers of all ages.
“I realize there are various positions held about this ban,” Peake said. ” I respect those strongly held beliefs. My hope is you’ll give strong consideration to the one fact, that is the bottom line on this issue, and that is that this legislation will save lives.”
But other lawmakers, including Rep. Kevin Levitas (D-Atlanta) and Rep. Steve Davis (R-McDonough) argued that the bill criminalizes a common practice and that driving while distracted is already illegal.
Teens under 18 would also be banned from talking on a cell phone while driving.
The bill must still pass the Senate.