Virginia teenagers can continue to chat on their cell phones
Sen. Jay O’Brien, R-Clifton, withdrew his bill to ban cell
phone use by drivers under age 18 after House lawmakers insisted on allowing
teens to use “hands-free” mobile phones.
O’Brien’s bill – SB966 – sought to prohibit all cell phone
use by young drivers. Violators could be pulled over solely for talking on the
A conference committee of three House lawmakers and three
senators voted 5-1 to adopt the Senate version but the House wouldn’t bend,
voting 58-37 to reject the panel’s recommendation.
Delegate Jack Reid, R-Henrico, acknowledged that cell phone
distractions can cause accidents but suggested that eating, drinking, changing
a compact disc and putting on makeup while driving are equally dangerous, and
all are covered by the state’s reckless driving law.
Other delegates warned that if the cell phone ban for teens
passes, it won’t take long before it is forced on adults.
Bill co-sponsor Sen. William Mims said the issue would not
“The scientific evidence is overwhelming that teens are
distracted both by hands-on and hands-free cell phones,” Mims, R-Leesburg, told The Associated Press. “It’s quite unfortunate the House did not have
sufficient care for the safety of teens to adopt a common sense measure. We
will be back next year.”