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State House Votes to Bar Teens from Using Cell Phones While Driving

The state House voted Wednesday to bar Arizona’s newest drivers from using their cell phones while driving. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains the measure.

The legislation is simple: For teens with a learner’s permit, no texting while driving. Also outlawed is chatting on the phone, even with a hands-free device. And, the same rules would apply during the first six months after a teen gets a license. Rep. Karen Fann said her measure proposes nothing unusual, noting new drivers are issued a Class G license that already has other restrictions.

“They cannot drive after 10 o’clock at night, they cannot drive with a bunch of fellow teen students in the car with them that’s going to be distracting. And, the whole purpose of the Class G license is so that those students, as they’re learning, they can give 100 percent of their attention to not only learning how to drive themselves but also learning how to be defensive drivers,” Fann said.

But, foes like Rep. Kelly Townsend said these questions should be left to parents.

“And, it also is a slippery slope because this is Step One into removing the privileges for all drivers to be using their cell phone. And I am largely against that,” Townsend said.

The measure now moves to the Senate.

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