In December or January, a decision may be made by the Smyrna City Council on whether to prohibit the use of handheld cell phones or other electronic devices while driving. AJC file photo

Smyrna postpones decision on handheld ban

A decision on whether to ban the use of handheld cell phones or other electronic devices while driving has been delayed by the Smyrna City Council until at least Dec. 18.

Councilman Derek Norton has proposed the change - an initiative also being promoted statewide by the Medical Association of Georgia of which Norton is the director of Government Relations.

MORE: Smyrna considers ordinance for drivers to put down phones — or pay up

Among the Georgia statistics noted by Norton are:

  • Even with the greatly under-reported fatal and serious injury collisions caused by distracted driving, from 2012 to 2015, Georgia has seen a 60 percent increase in the number of such incidents.
  • From 2009 to 2015, the number of serious injuries from traffic accidents in Georgia increased 55 percent.
  • Georgia’s traffic fatalities rate is higher now than it was before the 2010 Georgia law that bans texting while driving.
  • In 2009, Georgia had 1,292 traffic fatalities compared to 1,561 traffic fatalities in 2016 which is outpacing the national average.
  • Of roadway fatalities in Georgia, 60 percent involve drivers failing to maintain their lanes.

While Mayor Max Bacon said he favors the proposal, he also said during the Nov. 20 meeting he prefers to wait until after the Dec. 5 runoff so that a full City Council will be in place to make the decision.

Smyrna voters will decide between Maryline Blackburn and Travis Lindley.

The Ward 3 vacancy resulted due to the resignation of Teri Anulewicz to run for the Georgia House District 42 seat left vacant by the resignation of Stacey Evans to run for governor.

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