Virginia law bans mobile phone use by teen drivers

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Mobile phone in use while driving.

Virginia governor Tim Kaine signed a bill into law on Friday last week that prohibits the use of mobile phones by newly licensed drivers under the age of 18 while operating a motor vehicle. Mobile phone users must pull off to the side of the road, or into a parking lot, to use a phone. The law takes effect July 1.

The newly signed bill by Virginia's governor makes it the 14th state in the U.S. to enact a partial ban on mobile phone use. The age group affected, 16 and 17-year-olds, need consent from their parents or guardians to obtain a driver's license in the state.

"I believe this is a common-sense restriction on those new drivers who may be tempted to pay more attention to phone calls and text messages than the road, endangering themselves and other drivers," said Governor Kaine.

State legislative proposals to restrict mobile phone use while driving have failed in 17 U.S. states where similar bills were introduced. There are currently four U.S. states, California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, that have passed laws limiting mobile phone use as an on-road hazard while driving. For example, both New York and New Jersey classify use of a handheld mobile phone without an earpiece as a moving violation.

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law mobile phone use limitations that will take effect on July 2008. It imposes of fine of $20 for, "... anyone caught driving and using a cell phone unless the driver uses a headset, ear bud or other technology that frees both hands." according to Matt Hamblen of ComputerWorld.com.

45 countries currently ban use of the hand held devices while driving. Botswana and New Zealand are debating similar measures.

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