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Distracted driving bill passes key Georgia Senate committee
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A law taking effect Sunday, July 1, makes it illegal to drive while holding a phone.

ATLANTA — Georgia is one step closer to joining 15 other states that have already made it illegal to hold a cellphone while driving.

By a non-unanimous voice vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a bill by Republican Rep. John Carson to crack down on distracted driving.

Carson’s bill has already passed the House, but it took nearly a month before the Senate committee voted on the controversial measure.

Carson says drivers who are texting or surfing the web are to blame for a recent spike in fatal crashes across Georgia. He says these crashes have led to huge increases in auto insurance premiums.

The Senate committee voted to lessen the proposed fines for a first-time offender from $300 to $75. Repeat offenders would face bigger fines.