September 22, 2005
The National Transportation Safety Board is looking to keep cell phones out of the hands of new drivers while on the road, and local officials think it is a good idea.
"Accidents are caused when people are distracted, so if you reduce some of those distractions, it's only going to help the accident rate go down," says Sgt. Mike Farruggio with the Charlottesville Police Department.
Statistics prove that when you're learning how to drive, especially when you're a teenager, distractions really matter.
"There's no question about it, they need to be devoting 100% of their attention to driving," said Richard Wharham, the Driver Education Coordinator for Albemarle County.
Wharham said he is in favor of the ban. He thinks car insurance companies that don't give teenagers their first break until age 21 have it right.
"It's a five year process, a five year process of applying those skills and letting them become habits so that [they] do them automatically without even thinking about it."
Seventeen-year-old, high school senior Allison Coleman often uses her cell phone while driving, and disagrees with the ban.
"I don't think it's fair, I think that once we get our license we should have the same privileges as everyone else and should be treated [as equals] to any other drivers."
Right now, Virginia law makers have not passed any bans on the issue but are not ruling it out. Critics of the band contend that only a fraction of the crashes blamed on distracted driving are actually related to cell phones.