Governor Deal signs bill to crack down on cellphone usage while driving

Deal said he decided to sign the bill in Statesboro in memory of the Georgia Southern University nursing students who died in fatal car collision on I-16 by a distracted driver in April 2015. Photo of the victims were displayed at the signing event.

Matthew Enfinger

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill into law on Wednesday that aims to decrease distracted driving by prohibiting the use of any stand-alone electronic device while on any public road in Georgia.

Deal said that Statesboro was an appropriate place to sign the bill because Georgia Southern University was the home to the five nursing students who were killed a car crash on I-16 in April 2015. Distracted driving played a part in the fatal wreck.

“I know that this legislation does not mend your broken hearts. I know that it does not make your hearts whole or relieve you of your memories but, hopefully it will prevent the same kind of pain and tragedy being suffered by other families in the future,” Deal said.

The new law will now prohibit the use of wireless telecommunications devices while driving in Georgia. Further information on the law can be found here.

Although the new law aims to decrease distracted driving by prohibiting the use of wireless telecommunications devices while driving, Deal said the law also aims to prevent the tragic and avoidable deaths that occur on I-16.

“This legislation is Georgia’s way of saying ‘Today is the day that we say no more,’” Deal said.

The law will go into effect on July 1. A grace period will start of the enforcement of the law where warning will be issued but drivers are encouraged to adjust cell phone promptly.

While many members of the GS community were present at the signing, GS President Jaimie Hebert was not in attendance due to a prior engagement, Jennifer Wise, marketing and communications director, said.

Tandra Smith contributed to this article. 

Matthew Enfinger, The George-Anne News Editor, [email protected]