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Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - 9:19am

Texting While Driving Outlawed... Almost

Texting while driving is one step closer to being outlawed in Georgia. Lawmakers in the House and Senate passed bills prohibiting the dangerous practice.

If all goes according to plan, Georgia teens under 18 will no longer be allowed to use cell phones for talking and texting while they drive.

The rest of Georgia drivers won't be able to text. Talking will still be allowed. Representative Allen Peake told his colleagues that while the fines for violations may only be $150 dollars, he believes the law would be educational rather than punitive.

"This bill will change behavior. Members have said that it's difficult to enforce. Well let me tell you something. The seat belt law, the16-year-old restriction driving laws, DUI laws, They all changed behavior," he says.

Georgia would join over 30 states in banning texting while driving.

The law would be named the after 19 year old Caleb Sorohan who died while driving and texting. His parents have been advocating for the bill all session. Senator Jack Murphy championed the legislation in his chamber and says it will have an immediate impact.

"We feel like we pick up about 40 percent of adults just when they find out that it's against the law. We think that 40 percent will stop texting and driving. So we gotta pick up the rest of it," Murphy says.

Differences between the House and Senate version still have to be worked out in committee, before final passage is expected Thursday. The Oprah Winfrey Show is expected to come to Georgia later this week to do a show about texting and driving. Murphy says he was invited to be on the show and will attend if the bill becomes law.