Saturday, July 10, 2010

Texting While Driving?

The new law against texting while driving is a great move for road safety. Another law, which has gotten less attention but may be just as important, is a ban on use of any wireless device - mobile phones, smartphones, etc. - by anyone under 18. Both laws carry a $150 fine for violators and one point on their license, and went into effect on July 1st. They could have gone further, certainly, but it's great to see Georgia getting more serious about safe driving.

Read the full language of the texting bill here. Click here to read the under-18 bill

The news media and state of Georgia did a great job informing people about the new law on radio, TV, and newspapers. Advocates celebrated. Then on July 4th, I saw this cyclist texting while bicycling (ironically while wearing a shirt that says 'txt') and I wondered, does the law apply to bicycle riders, too?
The answer is no. After reading through the bill, it clearly states that it applies strictly to the operators of motor vehicles. So this gent is legal. He was also riding very slowly and staying away from hazards. And that's the message I want to leave you with - these laws should make our roads safer for everyone. Be sure to comply with them if you are driving, and encourage your family and friends to do the same. If you are riding a bike, you can still enjoy the privilege of checking or sending text messages, but do so wisely and safely.


  1. I think legislation is critical for raising public awareness but we can’t solely legislate our way out of this issue. I just read that 72% of teens text daily - many text more than 3000 times a month. This issue is in its infancy and its not going away. I decided to do something about it after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver . Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool that is a simple app for smartphones - low cost, no recurring fees. We can empower the individual and change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

    Erik Wood, owner

  2. I'm going to sound the biggest Baa-Humbug. I don't care if it's legal. Don't cycle and text. Pull over or wait for a break in your ride. It is as irresponsible to other road users as texting whilst driving. Have we really sunk so far in our need for instant gratification, that an adult can't wait a few minutes to tell his missus he's picked up some milk.

  3. I agree: put the phone away, or pull over and take care of it at the curb. I have seen four bicyclists using their cell phones nearly collide with pedestrians (three) or objects (one). I clucked my tongue and furrowed my brow. But when I saw some douche on a fixie (obviously brand new, obviously his first go) trying to walk his dog, but fail and fall over into someone's lawn, I laaaaaaughed. My point: just ride the damn bike. If you need to do something else, like poop the pooch or text your spouse, get off the bike. Safer for you, safer for all.

  4. I have to agree with blithebicyclist and Kyle - what is so freaking important that it can't wait a few minutes? I am so tired also of hearing people on their phones everywhere I go. There is even no quiet spaces in bookstores and libraries anymore.

  5. I have to say that I'm very pleased with the safety-conscious attitude around here!