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New Laws: Teen Drivers And Texting

Lordjim / Flickr

Lordjim / Flickr

Kelly Browning is one of the safe driving activists who pushed for the new law. She heads the Sacramento-based group Impact Teen Drivers.

Browning didn’t like the fact that a 2012 revision to California’s distracted driving laws didn’t specifically prohibit drivers under 18 from using voice-activated technology for texting.

“When the law passed last January it was allowing anybody to use voice-activated text technology. So our purpose here was to make sure that our newest, novice drivers were excluded from that.”

The new law closes a loophole – teens won’t be able to use voice-responsive apps such as “Siri” to get around the ban on texting and driving.

“While there’s all kinds of distractions while driving, simple ones (like) putting on your makeup, eating, having a pet in the car, really the greatest nemesis is the cell phone and it’s the newest nemesis.”

Cynthia Harris is with AAA which also supports the new law.

“We have to realize that even though there is a device that is on our dashboard or that is somehow not in our hands is not going to be a distraction. Anything that takes your eyes off the road is considered a distraction and therefore dangerous.”

Statistics show that car crashes in the U.S. are more common among young drivers than any other age group, according to research by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.


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Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the Morning Edition anchor for Capital Public Radio. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music.  Read Full Bio 

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