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New Arizona law goes into effect banning cellphone use for teen drivers

Beginning this Sunday, July 1, 2018, a new Arizona law goes into effect banning cellphone use for teen drivers  

The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are considered the most dangerous for teen drivers. According to AAA, an average of ten people are killed per day in crashes involving a teen driver during this period, a 14 percent increase compared to the rest of the year. Perhaps a new law, which goes into effect this weekend, will help decrease these alarming statistics. Unless it’s an emergency or the teen driver is using turn-by-turn voice directions – those with a Graduated Driver License (GDL) cannot use wireless communication devices, like cellphones, while driving. Those found in violation of the law will face fines and an extension of their six-month graduated driver period. “GDL laws are about protecting teen drivers, giving them time to develop their driving skills in low-risk settings,” said Michelle Donati, spokeswoman for AAA Arizona.

 

The cellphone restriction, which goes into effect Sunday, is subject to secondary enforcement. That means a driver must be pulled over for another traffic violation first before being cited. Col. Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said it’s important for teenagers to develop good driving habits from day one. “All too often DPS troopers witness the devastation caused by distracted drivers,” he said. “Our troopers will continue to patrol throughout the state targeting all behavior that endangers the public, including distracted driving.” Gov. Doug Ducey signed the legislation in April 2017. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than half of teen drivers report using a cellphone while driving. Teen drivers have the highest crash rate of any age group in the United States. They also are among the most avid users of wireless communication devices.

 

The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, also known as the “100 deadliest days” is a period of time where parents are encouraged to get involved to make their teens safer and to reduce the chance of them becoming a statistic on the roadway. Although nighttime driving and speeding are considered the biggest factors when it comes to collisions, they are not the only ones. Distracted driving is another prevalent cause to teen-related crashes. So, take some time, during these 100 days, to get involved in your teens’ driving habits and help to ensure safer roads in our community.

Adena Astrowsky is a prosecutor and author of Mother of Souls, The Story of a Holocaust Survivor. She recently received an Amazing Women award from the Phoenix Suns and National Bank of Arizona for her professional and philanthropic work. She lives in Scottsdale with her husband and three children.