Friday, January 25, 2008

Morgan Wants Teen Cellphone-Driving Ban

A bill filed by House Democratic Leader Danny Morgan would make it illegal for teenagers to use cellphones or text while driving.
"Teenagers have their hands full just learning to drive," said Morgan, D-Prague. "If you add talking on the phone or texting friends into the mix, you're just creating the recipe for an accident. My legislation will provide a little incentive for those kids to focus on driving instead of talking on the phone."
House Bill 2964, by Morgan, would make it illegal for anyone younger than 18 to "operate a motor vehicle on a street or highway while using a cellular telephone or electronic communication device while the motor vehicle is in motion."
Teenagers caught talking while driving would face a $25 fine.
The bill contains exemptions in emergency situations requiring police or medical attention.
The link between cell-phone use and driver inattention has been the subject of several formal studies in recent years. The 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study, conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (released in April 2006), found that almost 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds of the event. The study found that the most common distraction is the use of cell phones.
Motorists who use cell phones while driving are also four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, according to a July 2005 study of drivers in Perth, Australia, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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