Two new laws took effect July 1. Senate Bill 360 bans texting while driving for adult drivers and House Bill 23 bans all cell phone use for teen drivers. Both of these new laws carry fines of $150 and one point added to the driving records of violators. The new laws are designed to reduce distracted driving. Twenty-five states already ban texting for all drivers and 25 states also ban all cell phone usage for teen drivers.
While the dangers of distracted driving apply to all motorists, there is an increased risk for younger drivers. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in their first year on the road, teen drivers are more than 10 times as likely to be involved in an automobile accident. Any driver who talks on a mobile phone is four times more likely to be involved in a serious crash, regardless of whether the driver uses a hands-free cell. Cell-phone usage is blamed for a majority of the more than 5,000 annual teenage driving fatalities stemming from “distracted drivers.”