Teen Drivers Could Lose Cell Phone Rights - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

East Alabama

Teen Drivers Could Lose Cell Phone Rights

Teenage drivers in Alabama may soon be told to get off the phone while operating a car. A new bill would ban cell phones in cars for drivers younger than 17.

It's common to see teenage drivers using cell phones, tut they can be a big distraction.

"I've had to slam on brakes a couple of times to keep from rear-ending somebody," said Anna Larkin, a 16-year-old driver from Opelika.

The Alabama Legislature may ban drivers under the age of 17 from using cell phones. Officers say they're causing too many people to lose focus on the road.

"On the list of conditions that cause motor vehicle accidents, currently it's at number three behind speeding. That's number one, and driving under the influence, which is number two," said Jay Jones, Lee County sheriff.

Some younger drivers say they can understand why the state may ban the phones.

"At 16 and 17-years-old, you're not that experienced with driving. You have a cell phone to add with it, I can see where they're coming from," said Amanda Payne, a 17-year-old driver.

Before this bill, some parents have been proactive in keeping their kids off the phone.

"My mom told me before I ever started driving on my own that I couldn't talk on my cell phone while driving," said Larkin.

And it's a rule both Larkin and Payne generally stick to, but some say older drivers should heed the warnings as well.

"It's probably not a bad idea for anyone, no matter what your age, to limit the use of a cell phone while you're driving," said Jones.

Georgia is also considering a ban on cell phones for drivers with learner's permits and Class "D" licenses. The Alabama Legislature may also make seat belts mandatory for backseat passengers.

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