Abate pushes for harsher distracted driving penalties

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Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
August 19, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Local motorcyclists are making a push to crack down on distracted driving.

Abate Georgia, American Bikers Active Toward Education, is asking legislators for harsher penalties for distracted driving. The state passed the Hands-Free law last year, prohibiting drivers from holding a cell phone while on the roads. But the group believes the penalties don't go far enough.

Right now the find for violating the hands-free law in Georgia is fifty dollars for the first conviction, and one point added to their license. The second time the fine increases to 100 dollars.

Abate members said in order for distracted driving to stop, those fines need to be higher. They want to see the violation on par with a DUI, a minimum fine of 300 dollars and one year probation following a first offense.

This summer an Abate member was hit and killed by a distracted driver. The organization said now is the time for change.

"More and more fatalities are happening every day, and it's not just motorcyclists involved in these fatalities, these are every day drivers," said Larry Nesmith with Abate. "We consider everyone who's a member of Abate a brother or a sister, so it touches home. Unfortunately it's a law that we do have, but we just want to get a little bit better."

The group is now working with local legislators, and plan to take it up with law makers ahead of the next legislative session.

Ultimately, though, the group said it's up to every driver to keep the phones down and roads safer.



 
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