Senate Committee OKs Proposed GDL Legislation

Phoenix, Ariz. Mar. 15, 2012. HB 2348, a bill that would strengthen Arizona’s Graduated Drivers License Law (GDL), passed out of the Senate Finance Committee by a vote of 5 to 2 this morning.

HB 2348 originally sought to amend the way taxpayers listed business related information on their income tax returns. However, a strike everything amendment redirected the focus of this bill to Arizona’s GDL law. Sponsored by Senator John McComish (R), HB 2348 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.

“This legislation aims to eliminate two of the most common distractions for teen drivers which will reduce their behind-the-wheel risks and help them create safer driving habits,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “AAA applauds Senator McComish for his continued leadership on this issue.”

AAA Arizona lobbied for the passage of Arizona’s current GDL law, which has proven to be effective since taking effect in July 2008. In 2007, teen drivers were involved in 15 percent of all fatal crashes in Arizona, compared to 8 percent in 2010, according to Arizona’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan Report Card. This represents a 61 percent decrease in teen driver involved fatalities over this three year period.

HB 2348 will now move to the Senate Committee of the Whole for consideration. Arizonans can monitor the progress and take action on this bill, as well as other transportation related issues, by visiting AAA’s legislative action center.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and auto 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.