June 27, 2005
Needed to Restrict Teen Cell Phone Use in California and Protect
963, a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia that would
prohibit teen drivers with a provisional driver's license from
using their cell phones while driving (unless they are calling
911), was defeated by just one vote last week in the Senate Transportation
Committee. The bill will be reconsidered in committee, as early
as July 5th (if there is a budget). Given that motor vehicle crashes
are the leading cause of death for teenagers, this bill would
make driving safer for beginning teen drivers and all who share
the road with them. Please call or write the following senators
and urge their support for AB 963.
Senator Allen Lowenthal (916) 445-6447 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Bob Margett (did not vote) (916) 445-2848 or email@example.com
Senator Joe Simitian (916) 445-6747 or firstname.lastname@example.org
2003, nationally there were 6,002 teenagers between the ages of
16-20 killed and 482,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes (National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, 2004)
569 teenagers between the ages of 16-20 were killed in California
motor vehicle crashes in 2003. (NHTSA, Fatal Analysis Reporting
Teen drivers are far more likely than older drivers to be involved
in fatal crashes because they lack driving experience and tend to
take greater risks. They are also more easily distracted.
Sixteen-year-old drivers have a crash rate three times more than
17-year-olds, 5 times greater than 18-year-olds, almost ten times
greater than drivers age 30-59 and two times that of 85-year-olds
(NHTSA, 2001 and Williams, A.F., 1996).
Although black and Hispanic male teenagers travel fewer vehicle
miles than their white counterparts, they are nearly twice as likely
to die in a motor vehicle crash (Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent
A teen "Youthquake" is underway on California roadways.
Teen drivers aged 15-19 will have increased by 33.5 percent (since
1997) by the year 2007 (California Office of Traffic Safety)
Cell phones are a major distraction and a factor in crashes. More
young drivers are using cell phones, and 8 percent of drivers age
16 to 24 were using a hand-held phone during daylight hours in 2004,
compared to 5 percent in 2002 and 3 percent in 2000 (NHTSA, February
Mixing teenage driving and cell phone use is a recipe for disaster.
Given the limited time that teens have been driving and their relative
inexperience behind the wheel, reducing their distractions by eliminating
cell phone use in the car is an important step in improving overall
safety for the driver and other motorists and passengers (Advocates
for Highway and Auto Safety, 2005).
Colorado, Delaware, D.C., Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, and Tennessee
have adopted teen cell phone restriction laws.
further information, contact Rick Alloway, Advocates for Highway
and Auto Safety,
202-408-1711 or email@example.com
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