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State Lawmakers Look To Crack Down On Teen Drivers

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The State House is looking at ways to crack down on teens and technology behind the wheel.

On Monday, lawmakers are set to vote on some sweeping changes that would bar drivers from texting and would keep teens from playing taxi driver.

Sure, many drivers think it’s okay to text and talk, but AAA says not so fast.

“Our members, 93 percent of them, support eliminating texting while driving, because it is a big problem,” said Bevi Powell, of AAA. “When you take your eyes off of the road for more than two seconds, your chance of a crash doubles.”

Next week, state lawmakers are set to take a vote on a bill that would prohibit texting and driving behind the wheel.

State Rep. Joe Markosek, who used to chair the House Transportation Committee, has been behind similar pushes in the past – which passed the House, but not the Senate.

This might all sound familiar, but one thing the bill doesn’t include is an outright ban on talking and driving. The only thing this will affect is the ability to text.

There are some other limitations, though. You won’t be able to pull out your iPod and pick out music while you’re driving, you won’t be able to plop down your iPad or laptop and put it in the passenger’s seat.

However, you will be able to do things like punch in an address on your GPS, even while the car is moving.

Even more notable are proposed new laws for teen drivers, like boosting the number of required hours for teen drivers with a learner’s permit, make a lack of seat belts a primary offense and limit the number of passengers a teen driver can carry to one non-family member.

“That increases the distractions and that increases the likelihood of a crash,” says Powell.

If it passes the Republican led House and Senate, it could take effect within 60 days.

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