SB 1241 Clears Senate Committee

Legislation proposes wireless ban for teen drivers

Phoenix. Feb. 13, 2013. Today, SB 1241, a bill designed to strengthen Arizona’s Graduated Drivers License Law (GDL), made its first step forward at the state capitol. The bill passed out of the Public Safety committee with a three to one vote.

Sponsored by Senator 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.

“As a leader in driver safety AAA knows distractions posed by wireless devices, coupled with the inexperience of developing teen drivers, can be a deadly combination,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “We look forward to continued progress on this legislation, and we applaud Senator Melvin for his leadership on this issue.”

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, SB 1241 will continue to make its way through the Senate. 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.