Utah Chiropractor Speaks Out About Bill That Would Ban Teens From Using Cell Phones While Driving

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Dan LaFontaine said parents can influence behavior, but new law is needed to save young lives

Car Crash Pain
I tell my kids not to talk on the phone while driving. ... Parents should set the ground rules.

The Utah Legislature is currently debating a bill that would ban people younger than 18 years of age from talking on cellular phones while driving. A Utah chiropractor is speaking out about the legislation. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ross Romero, a Democrat from Salt Lake City, said the legislation “was inspired by a group of teens who lobbied for a previous attempt to ban handheld cell phone use by Utah drivers.”

The legislation has proven to be a controversial topic among lawmakers.

Sen. Stuart Adams, a Republican from Layton, said he is against the proposed measure.

“I’m not sure we can regulate inappropriate behavior,” Adams said.

Despite opposition, the bill has passed the Senate and advanced to the state House of Representatives.

Teens are four times more likely to cause a traffic accident, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. And the accidents are often the result of distractions caused by the use of cellular phones.

“I tell my kids not to talk on the phone while driving,” said Utah chiropractor Dan LaFontaine of Car Crash Pain. “Parents should set the ground rules.”

While parents can play a major role in the behavior of teens, having a law banning the use of cell phones while driving could save lives, LaFontaine said, adding that about 30 percent of the car crash victims he sees come in as a result of an accident caused by distracted driving.

A recent study by the American Automobile Association stated that 46 percent of teens admitted to being distracted while using cellular phones behind the wheel.

Some critics of the legislation say the proposed law should apply to all Utah drivers. Exceptions to the bill would include making calls during a medical emergency, reporting or requesting assistance with a safety hazard, reporting criminal activity or communicating with a parent or guardian. The maximum fine for violating the law could be up to $50.

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