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Arizona Legislature gives green light to texting ban for teen drivers

Thursday's 32-24 House vote sends the bill to Gov. Doug Ducey for his consideration.

<p>A person using a phone while driving. (Photo: DjelicS/Thinkstock)</p>

Surely you’ve seen people texting while driving, but now the state is hitting the brakes on it, at least for some.

It’s the first time in years that state lawmakers have managed to give the green light to a measure like this. 

The measure bans teens from texting or other cell phone use while they have a learner’s permit and during the first six months they have a regular license. 

15-year-old Zac Eckert recently got his learner’s permit. 

He’s already noticing all the distractions drivers face, especially cell phones.

"It’s pretty important, because it’s how I talk to all my friends and stuff," he said. 

Zac has seen bad driving because of texting.  

“They’re kind of like looking back and forth and not really focused," he said. 

Over at Driving MBA in Gilbert, he demonstrated what texting and driving can lead to on a simulator. 

“When I was texting, I noticed every time I looked back up, I was like way over to the right or the left," said Eckert.

So he’s practicing good habits. 

"Like put it in a side pocket and not look at it until I get out of the car," he said.

In fact, he’s one teen that's happy about the ban. 

"Because I know a lot of my friends... they text while they drive and stuff, so it would be good for them to stop," he said.

“They’re so attached to them. I mean, I would admit I am too," said Maggie Shelton, Zac's instructor. 

She says not texting while driving is a struggle for most people. 

“If they haven’t been shown otherwise, it would be a real temptation to be using them," said Shelton.

Since the consequences can be deadly. 

She's hoping the ban will encourage drivers of all ages to do the right thing.

“It’s just better, so say ‘It’s against the law -- I’m just not going to use it,’" said Shelton.

Arizona is one of just four states without blanket bans on texting while driving. The final hurdle for the ban after its 32-24 House vote? Gov. Doug Ducey. He'll have to decide if he’ll veto it or give the ban the green light.