Island teens might soon have to turn off their cell phones before
getting behind the wheel of a car.
bill introduced last month in the state House would prohibit anyone
under 18 from chatting on the phone while driving – even if they’re
using a hands-free device.
bill sponsor, Rep. Peter Kilmartin, D-Pawtucket, told The Providence
Journal he proposed H6524 in response to a recent National Highway
Transportation Safety Board recommendation that novice drivers be
prohibited from using cell phones while on the road.
safety board says that young drivers account for only 7 percent
of the driving population but are involved in 15 percent of fatal
accidents. Distracted drivers take 1.5 seconds longer to respond
to hazards, the agency says.
how to drive and getting comfortable in traffic requires all the
concentration a novice driver can muster,” NTSB Chairwoman Ellen
Engleman said in a statement. “Adding a distracting element like
a cell phone is placing too many demands on a young driver’s skills.”
the bill, which has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee,
underage drivers caught using cell phones would be fined $50. Kilmartin
said he plans to add an exemption for emergency calls.