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AAA Arizona: Bill banning cell phones for teen drivers advances to governor’s desk

Michelle Donati. (Haute Photography)

Arizona lawmakers recently passed legislation that will help make Arizona roads safer for everyone. The passing of this bill marks a decade long effort by AAA to combat distracted driving among teenagers in Arizona.

Sponsored by Sen. Karen Fann (R-Prescott) and authored by AAA, SB 1080 would prohibit teens from using wireless communication devices, such as a cell phone, while operating a vehicle during the permit and first six months of the Graduated Driver License Law (GDL) phases, except for in emergency situations.

“This marks a tremendous milestone for traffic safety in Arizona,” said Tim Condon, president and CEO of AAA Arizona. “On behalf of more than 900,000 members in Arizona, AAA would like to thank Sen. Fann and capitol leadership for recognizing the need for this life-saving legislation.”

Teen drivers have the highest crash rate of any other age group in the United States. They are also among the most avid users of wireless communication devices. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than half of teen drivers report using a cell phone while driving, a dangerous behavior for both the driver and everyone they share the road with.

“This bill has always been about providing novice teenage drivers with the safe driving habits that I hope will last a lifetime,” said Fann, sponsor of SB 1080. “My sincerest thank you to the members of the Arizona Legislature who supported the bill. I appreciate the bipartisan effort to pass this important legislation. I also want to thank AAA and the entire coalition for their long-term commitment to improving traffic safety in Arizona.”

AAA Arizona was a leading advocate for Arizona’s current GDL law, which phases in certain driving privileges for novice drives as they gain experience. According to a recent poll, almost 9 in 10 Arizonans showed support for strengthening the state’s GDL laws to include prohibiting wireless communication devices, such as a cell phone, for our youngest and most inexperienced drivers.

SB 1080 will now make its way to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk where it awaits his signature to become law.

– Michelle Donati is the communications manager at AAA Arizona. Contact her at michelle.donati@arizona.aaa.com.

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