SB 1080 aims to eliminate most common teen driver distractions

Phoenix -- AAA is supporting a new bill that aims to strengthen Arizona’s Graduated Driver License Law (GDL). The bill, being read today by the Senate Committee on Transportation, marks the sixth year that the advocacy organization will support this measure.

Sponsored by Sen. Karen Fann (R), SB 1080 would prohibit teens from using wireless communication devices, such as a cell phone, while operating a vehicle during the permit and first six months of the GDL phases, except for in emergency situations.

“Taking wireless communication devices out of teen drivers’ hands will reduce already heightened crash risks and help teens adopt safer driving habits,” said Sen. Fann, sponsor of SB 1080. “Enhancing Arizona’s teen driving law can save our children’s lives."

Novice drivers are more likely to become distracted by a wireless communication device in a car compared to more experienced drivers, according to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. The study also found that young drivers are three to five times more likely to be involved in a crash or near-crash when reaching for or dialing a phone.

AAA Arizona lobbied for Arizona’s current GDL law, which has proved to be effective. However, AAA believes there is still room to improve Arizona’s law, as motor vehicle crashes continue to be among the leading cause of death among teens.

“A novice teen driver lacks the more advanced driving skills, like braking in congested conditions or anticipating hazards. Only time and experience allow them to build the defensive driving skills they need to better maneuver in challenging situations. Inexperience behind the wheel paired with a mobile device is a deadly combination that puts us all at risk,” said Lisa Fell, director of communications for AAA Arizona. “We know that stronger GDL laws reduce crashes. Strengthening Arizona’s GDL law would increase safety for all road users.”   back...
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