Bill Proposing Teen Wireless Ban Advances in Senate

Phoenix. Feb. 19, 2013. Today, SB 1241, a bill designed to strengthen Arizona’s Graduated Drivers License Law (GDL), passed out of the Senate Transportation committee six to zero.

Sponsored by Sen. Al Melvin (R), SB 1241 would prohibit teens from using wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle during the permit and first six months of the GDL phases, except for in emergency situations.

“We’re pleased at the progress this life-saving measure made in the Senate today,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “As an advocacy organization representing the motoring public, we will continue to support this bill’s movement through the legislature.”

Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent, according to research by Carnegie Mellon. Plus, the risk of a teen being involved in a car crash is at a lifetime high during the first six to 12 months and 1,000 miles of driving, according to the National Safety Council. AAA believes SB 1241 will curb dangers associated with teen drivers during that time.

AAA Arizona lobbied for the passage of Arizona’s current GDL law, which has proven to be effective. In fact, teen driver and passenger fatalities are down 16 percent from 2008 when the state’s GDL law took effect. However, AAA believes there is still room to improve, as traffic crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among teens.

After clearing today’s committee, the next step for SB 1241 is the Senate Rules committee. Arizonans can monitor the progress and take action on this bill, as well as other automotive-, insurance-, transportation- and travel-related issues by visiting AAA’s legislative action center.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.