SALT LAKE CITY -- More than 500 teens representing 35 cities met Wednesday morning at the Capitol to role play as legislators as part of the Utah League of Cities and Towns Local Officials Day.
As part of that experience, two groups debated whether cellphone use while driving should be prohibited for those younger than 18.
A third group debated prohibiting idling vehicles within town limits.
"We wanted to find a bill that teenagers would be passionate about and have opinions on," said Cameron Diehl, an attorney with the league.
The majority of the students chose to participate in the cellphone debates.
Diehl said several youth city councils were assigned to research the subjects a few weeks ago.
Other youth city councils listened to the debates and provided public comments on the issue.
Currently, it is illegal for teenagers to text while driving, but teens can use cellphones to make calls while driving.
According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, from 2007 to 2009, about 22 percent of drivers ages 19 and younger involved in accidents were known to be distracted by cellphones.
Kaitlyn Klein, a junior at Box Elder High School in Brigham City, said she thinks teenage drivers should be able to talk on the phone while driving but should use a hands-free device.
"It's no different than talking to a bunch of your friends who are in the car," she said.
Kaitlyn said she usually is talking to her parents when she is driving.
Sarah Thompson, 15, a Box Elder High School sophomore, has her learner's permit. She said she does not like talking on a cellphone when she is driving.
Sarah, the youngest in her family, said, "I get mad at my mom when she talks on her phone" while driving.
Jaden Paget, 17, who serves on the Farmington Youth City Council, said he does not think the government should get involved in making decisions for him.
His parents have blocked his phone so he cannot text.
Sadie Caldwell, 15, who is also on the Farmington Youth City Council, said texting and driving is dangerous, but she also does not want to cause any harm to anyone through any type of distracted driving.