Arizona is considering banning cell phone use by young drivers. Do bans like that work?

Could a cell phone ban for teen drivers reduce car crashes on Arizona highways? Will Pitts verifies.

PHOENIX - The Arizona legislature is considering a bill that would make it illegal for beginning drivers under 18 years old to use a cell phone or electronic device while driving.

The ban would only apply to underage drivers.

Other state have similar bans, but with mixed results. California has a total ban on using handheld cell phones, as well as a ban for underage drivers to use them at all. But, according to the state Office of Traffic Safety, observed cell phone use actually went up to a record in 2016. And traffic fatalities have increased over the last three years of measured reports.

But experts warn against comparing Arizona to other states. 

"Every state's a little bit different," said AAA Arizona's Michelle Donati, "because every law's a little bit different."

Demographics can also change the results, she said, as well as the economy and even gas prices. 

Still, advocates say anything that reduces distraction would be helpful. 

"Young people need to drop their phones," Alberto Gutier with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety said, "not use it while they're driving."

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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