Right before the legislature concluded their regular session they tacked on a measure that prohibits learners permit holders and provisional drivers from using cell phones while driving. The bill goes into effect on January 1, 2006.
According to Steve Murphy, DFL – Red Wing, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, “It’s not a knock against them, it’s just that when drivers are first formulating their driving experience, it’s best that their attention be focused on learning the rules of the road.”
These types of laws are becoming increasingly popular with states like Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Tennessee. AAA of Minnesota pushed for the legislation as well as other legislation that would have placed restrictions on young drivers such as barring them from driving between midnight and 5 a.m., and from having more than one non-family member under 21 as a passenger in the car.
According to Gail Weinholzer, spokeswoman for the organization, “The two greatest indicators of whether a teenage driver is going to be in an accident is the number of passengers, and if they’re driving during those hours.”
According to Senator Murphy, “Driving is a privilege. It’s not a constitutionally guaranteed right. There’s so much carnage on the road these days, we want these younger drivers to live long enough that they become experienced drivers.”
I’ll be interested in hearing from you as to your reaction to this legislation. I’ll post some of the responses if I receive any.