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Law would ban cells for teen drivers

By Dennis Romboy | Posted - Feb. 7, 2011 at 5:33 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Teenage drivers wouldn't be allowed to get behind the wheel with a cell phone under legislation a Senate committee approved Monday.

"This bill totally removes the cell phone from a young driver's hand," said Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake.

SB45 would make it illegal for drivers under age 18 to use handheld or hands-free wireless phones while driving. Though it would be a primary offense, it would be considered an infraction and carry a $50 fine. Points would not be assessed on a teenager's driving record, he said.

Romero unsuccessfully pitched a similar bill last year, and could face opposition again this year.

"I question a little bit inside whether we should try to legislate good judgment," Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, told the Senate Transportation and Public Utilities and Technology Committee. "I have reservations about whether this is the right way to go."

Adams voted in favor to move the bill for debate on the Senate floor, but Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, voted against it.

"I'm not to the point where I want to take those phones away," he said after the meeting.

Two high school students told the committee they wouldn't mind if teenage drivers had their phones taken away.

"I see people with cell phones out. It definitely makes me worry," said Ashley Bailey, a senior at Herriman High School.

Pleasant Grove senior Brianna Anderson said a close friend almost died in a car crash with a driver on a cell phone.

"When I see teenagers in a car driving around, it makes me really scared for my life when I see them on a cell phone," she said.


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