A bill that would restrict teen drivers from using their cell phones while behind the wheel has passed through committee and is now on the floor of the House. HB 155, would prohibit teens from using a cellphone during the six-month supervised instruction period.
AAA Idaho believes a minor addition in the state’s driver licensing law could pay dividends by encouraging teens to put down their cell phones when they’re behind the wheel, or risk not getting their licenses when they expect them.
The House Transportation committee voted 9-7 Tuesday to send HB 155 to the House Floor.
Citing Idaho crash statistics and studies which show that young drivers pose greater risks to themselves and others, AAA is encouraging a change in Idaho’s graduated driver licensing law. They say the new law would promote a ‘no-talk, no-use’ requirement until teens complete the six month practice period required by law. Using a cell phone to talk or text would short circuit the process.
“A violation of the requirements necessary to complete the intermediate licensing phase for teens—including not being cited for a moving violation—would result in requiring a teen driver under the age of 17 to start the six-month process again,” Carlson said.
Supporters say the bill will influence teens to make decisions that are in their own best interest.
“This is a logical step in the process of dealing with distracted driving and teens’ overrepresentation of crashes in Idaho, and it gives us a tool to better enforce our existing laws,” Carlson said.
AAA Idaho cited results from its November statewide survey which showed 88 percent of Idaho voters support legislative action banning the use of cell phones for the purpose of talking or texting for drivers 18 and younger.