Teen Drivers Banned From Using Cell Phones

August 8 2005, 6:45 AM

Starting today, it is illegal in Colorado for a teenager to use a cell phone while driving.

New drivers caught using their cell phone behind the wheel will be fined $15 plus a surcharge of $2.60 and will lose one point on their license.....The law affects teens with restricted licenses -- new drivers who have to have an adult drive with them for a year. They must first be pulled over for another infraction before they can be cited for using their phone while driving.

The rationale behind the law seems to be that teens get in a greater number of accidents than adults. But, I haven't seen any statistics to show that teen drivers using cell phones get in more accidents than teen drivers who don't use them.

Getting a first driver's license is a big event for a teen. Nowadays, most teens have cell phones. They are addicted to them not only for telephone calls but for text messaging. These teens are at an age where they are running smack into adulthood. What kind of message does it send them to restrict them from one of their two greatest pleasures, driving and talking on the phone, right at the juncture of adulthood when adults don't face the same restrictions? This age is one in which we should be encouraging our kids to become adults by wisely using the new freedoms available to them. How confusing it must be for them to be told on the one hand, you're now an adult for driving a car, but not enough of an adult to be allowed to drive and use a cell phone. That will be interpreted by teens as a sign adults don't trust them. It send exactly the wrong message. These kids take driver training. Why not just add a class on the proper use of cell phones while driving? Why not just ban using a cellphone unless it has a handset and speakerphone? That would be more rational than an all-out ban. But the bottom line is that until the right of a teen to use a cell phone while driving is made the same for adults, this law discriminates based on age. How many accidents have been caused by teens using cell phones vs. adults using cell phones? By teens using cell phones vs. teens not using cell phones? If there isn't a greater percentage of accidents by the teen groups, then the law is unnecessary. Personally, I would be more worried about my 80-year-old mother driving while talking on a cell phone than I would my son at 18. Kids are adept at multi-tasking. The elderly don't seem quite as proficient at it.