Bill would cut the phone-line on teen drivers
House Bill 217 sponsored by Rep. Kory Holdaway, R-Dist. 34, would apply the brakes on anyone under 18 using a cell phone while driving.
The bill, targets young, newer drivers who may not have the experience to react instinctively to road situations occurring in split seconds. Enforcement of this bill, if it were to become law, would be considered a secondary action. Drivers would have to be stopped for another infraction before the cell phone infraction could be included. Points would be assessed against the driver’s record upon a conviction. Text messaging would also be prohibited under the bill.
H.B. 217 has passed the second reading in the House, and after a third reading, could be voted on by the House, Should it pass, it will move on to the Senate.
It’s pretty ridiculous, said Park City High School senior Greg Livingston, as he gets into his car after finishing a cell-phone call. His brother Shawn, a sophomore, who doesn’t have his driver license yet, said that it’s not just those 18 and younger on cell phones who pose a problem. "I do think they should ban all cell-phone use." Reacting to the secondary nature of the infraction, he said, "that law would deter people who have enough discipline to follow laws. Shawn said the law would deter him. Greg said it would not deter him.
Senior Melissa Reynolds said, "I don’t know why it should be different for people under 18. I talk. It caused me not really a huge problem I didn’t look to the left. I didn’t get in a crash. She (driver of another car) honked at me." Reynolds said of her cell phone use while driving, "I don’t use it every time I drive. Maybe 50 percent of the time, but it’s a quick conversation."
Katie Brenner took driver education at PCHS and got her license two months ago. "I think it’s a good idea," she said, adding that she thinks drivers should have at least two years driving experience before using a cell phone while driving. "You’re familiar with roads and you don’t have to think."
Lt. Kirk of the Park City Police Department, said of driver cell phone use, "It’s a problem with all drivers. The primary focus should be on driving. I see the logic that teens are inexperienced, but it affects all drivers. Research shows it’s almost like being under the influence. A good portion of drivers we stop are on the cell phone. Lt. Kirk said they may be stopped for such infractions as running a stop sign or speeding. "Sometimes when we stop them we have to tell them to get off the phone."
Planning Department staff on Wednesday shared an idea for a new concept, dubbed the Community Planning Lab, with the Summit County Council. The initiative strives to engage people who want to better understand the processes that drive executive decisions.
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