Widespread Abuse

The problem is most severe with young drivers under 21, who are four times as likely to have inattention-related crashes and near-crashes as drivers over 35. The problems for teens just beginning to drive and their parents is recognized on the Governors Highway Safety Association website which states that:

As part of a state's Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law, drivers should be discouraged from all non-emergency cell phone use (or use of any other electronic devices) while driving. Young drivers have higher crash rates than more mature drivers and are particularly vulnerable to fatal crashes. Limiting cell phone use as part of a GDL system is one effective way to help reduce the number of teen traffic crashes and fatalities. GHSA encourages parents to use these bans as another tool to ensure safe driving practices by their teens.

According to the Mankato Free Press: “Teens are the ultimate multi-taskers and they’re paying for it on the roads with their lives.” (As well as the lives of others.) The number of accidents involving teens related to distracted driving isn’t likely to shrink as more and more features are added to cell phones and as other electronic gadgets hit the market. Already, the leading cause of death for Minnesota’s 15- to 17-year-olds is traffic crashes, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Scores of additional studies and reports of cell phone dangers in the automobile environment can be gleaned from a simple Internet search. They clearly document the desirability of a solution that can enhance the safety of drivers while protecting innocent motorists and pedestrians.

The Legislative Solution is Insufficient

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