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Bill proposes stricter laws for teen drivers

By Liz Cosgrove
Published On: Feb 27 2013 07:01:56 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 28 2013 03:23:53 PM CST

Bill proposes stricter driving laws for teens

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

A new bill in Idaho could further prevent teens from using their cell phones while driving, and some people in the community are supporting the new bill already.

"It's upsetting anytime a student gets into a collision, especially if it's one that I know," said Kent Sawyer, vice principal of Sand Creek Middle School.

Sawyer has been a driving instructor for Bonneville School District 93 for 13 years. Over that period of time, he's taught more than 1,000 students how to drive.

But before a student steps into a car to drive.

"I'll either have them put their cell phone in their backpack in the back of the car. Or the cell phone will be stored into the console of the car, " said Sawyer.

And it's a good thing Sawyer is banning the use of cell phones while driving, because laws may be getting tougher for teens who have their driving permits.

Although texting while driving in Idaho is illegal, Idaho's Senate Transportation Committee has created a new bill which would ban drivers with permit licenses to call, text or communicate with a cell phone or wireless device while operating a motor vehicle.

Teens with a driving permit in Idaho must obtain 50 hours of driving with a parent or guardian during a six-month period in order to get their full license.

And during this time, Sgt. Jeff Edwards said, it's important for parents to teach their child how to answer a phone call correctly while driving.

"No doubt about it, anytime that a situation comes up where a phone call needs to be made, they need to be taught at that young age, to pull over, to stop or park before they use the phone," said Sgt. Edwards.

Future consequences of teen drivers getting caught texting or making a call on a cell phone under a full license will cost them.

If charged with inattentive driving, such as talking on your cellphone while driving, an offender could face up to $300 in fines and 90 days in jail.

Texting while driving is an $85 fine.

If the bill does pass, and drivers with a permit gets caught using their cell phone, they will have to restart the six-month process.

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