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In Michigan, should teen drivers be banned from cellphone use?

Distracted driving causes accidents far too frequently, often leaving injuries or even death in their trail. While the law does provide a way for victims to seek compensation from negligent drivers, legislators here in Michigan have yet to find a way to effectively curb distracted driving.

While everyone in Michigan knows that it is dangerous to mix cellphones and driving, they may not appreciate just how serious the risk is. Nationwide, 1.6 million car accidents each year involve texting and driving.

A survey shows that 70 percent of Michigan drivers say they would support a state ban on cellphone use while driving in Michigan. Of course, a texting ban is already in existence but some lawmakers in Michigan are arguing that it is ineffective and are working to pass a complete cell phone ban, at least for teen drivers.

A bill that would ban teenagers from using cellphones behind the wheel until they have full driving privileges under Michigan's graduated license program passed in the state Senate several months ago. If the bill becomes law, teens that violate the ban could be fined $100.

The dangers of cellphone use while driving may be more pronounced for teens that have little driving experience and have yet to develop safe driving behaviors, advocates of the legislation say. Furthermore, a ban for teens might also encourage adult drivers to put down their phones and pay attention to the roads.

While the legislation has not been well-received in the House in the past, the transportation committee will hold a hearing this week, and some hope this will renew efforts to pass a cellphone ban this session.

Source: Detroit News, "After daughter's crash, mom seeks changes to teen driving laws," Laura Berman, Nov. 29, 2012

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