Why is the Utah Legislature considering a bill that would ban mobile phone use by all drivers under 18? Why are kids being singled out, when a far bigger problem is adults using mobile phones while they are supposed to be concentrating on driving?
A far better solution is to simply ban the use of mobile phones by all drivers in Utah. Using these cell and smart phones, even ones that do not require the use of hands, causes drivers to be more dangerous. The use of phones while driving diminishes concentration. Some studies have compared the loss of concentration skills to that of driving while impaired by alcohol.
We don't single out the crime of driving under the influence by age groups, giving adults a pass. There's certainly no reason to single out children when it comes to mobile phones. The crime may not have the punishment consequences of a DUI offense, but the dangers to drivers and other persons on the road are the same.
Ironically, many Utah legislators may not support HB103, which would ban mobile phones for drivers under 18, simply because they fear that the ban would eventually include adults. They call it a "slippery slope." But it's not a slippery slope to want to do something about inconsiderate drivers, regardless of their age, who selfishly talk on the phone and endanger others. Frankly, we suspect there are far more adults than teens yakking on their mobile phones while driving. One reason teens start talking on the phones at the wheel is likely because they have witnessed parents or other role models doing the same.
If there's an emergency that needs to be addressed while someone is driving, it takes only a few seconds to pull over and call for assistance. The recent proliferation of mobile phones that extend beyond a home is a blessing of modern times. We have instant access to others when we are traveling, etc. However, they should not be abused by any driver in a manner that puts others at risk. In our opinion the state has an interest in this issue for all Utahns, not just children.