Cell Phone Ban Proposed for Teen Drivers in Florida

teen_driverIt’s official, a new Florida law banning texting while driving will go into effect for all drivers across the state beginning October 1st. Florida State Representative Irv Slosburg is asking an important question: is this new law enough to keep drivers safe? Teen drivers are at an increased risk for collisions compared to other drivers, and adding distractions such as cell phones only increases that risk. In fact, the Florida Sheriffs Association reports that teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.

Last week, Rep. Slosburg proposed a bill aimed at barring drivers under the age of 18 from using cell phones at all while driving. No texting or phone calls, even using Bluetooth devices, would be allowed while the car is in motion. An exception would be made if a teen driver needs to pull over to the side of the road to make a call in case of an emergency. Penalties for violations haven’t been outlined yet, but the proposal is slated for the 2014 legislative session which begins in early March. If passed, the law could go into effect January of 2015.

Feedback on the aim of the proposed bill has been positive. Parents would have increased peace of mind that their teens are safer on the roads, and even many teens are likely to admit that their generation is hooked on cell phone use and would benefit from a law aimed at keeping them focused on the road. Several law enforcement agencies are in support of banning cell phone use while driving, but questions have been raised about the difficulty in enforcing a cell phone ban for young drivers.

What do you think – would a law banning cell phone use while driving help to reduce the number of accidents on area roads and highways? Should such a law apply only to teen drivers, or to ALL drivers?

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