May 07, 2009
You kids hang up and drive!

Some action on the cellphones and driving front.

The House tonight tentatively approved a bill restricting teens' use of cellphones until they're 18 and overhauling driver's ed requirements in Texas. The bill would require all new teen drivers to have an additional 20 hours of behind the wheel experience, 10 of them at night, before they could get a driver's license. And it would lengthen the ban on a new teen driver having more than one passenger under 21 in the car. The ban now last six months, but would be for the first year under the bill, passed on a voice vote.

Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, said he offered the bill after the community of Pottsboro in Grayson County had two teens killed in car crashes in one month. Parents there formed a group, "Less Tears, More Years." They campaigned for more parental awareness of the risks of today's teen driving -- and more driver ed.

That one wasn't on my list of bills to watch earlier in the session, but it's been passed to engrossment (meaning, it was passed on second reading; it still needs final approval in the House) and assuming it doesn't become a casualty of the calendar, I imagine it will pass the Senate, though I suppose some of the driver's ed provisions might generate some debate. I don't see anything particularly onerous in this, so unless someone knows of a hidden danger lurking in there, I think this is worthwhile. And according to Atrios, similar restrictions are being worked on in the Pennsylvania legislature.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 07, 2009 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Hmm, a "no running people over until you're 18" approach. Interesting.

Not that it's a bad idea; just that most of the distracted phone-using drivers are over 18, so I expect the safety benefits to be minimal.

Posted by: John on May 7, 2009 10:02 AM

Honolulu just today put in place a ban on "handed" cellphone use for all drivers.

I expect Bluetooth sales to skyrocket. I also don't expect it to make a whole helluva lot of difference, considering enforcement is going to be a bear unless the cops stop fighting serious crime and stake out all the roads into town at rush hour.

Posted by: Linkmeister on May 8, 2009 1:48 AM
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