State Senator Jim Sebesta, chairman of Senate Transportation Committee, is considering the sponsorship of a bill that would restrict teenaged drivers’ cell-phone use. Here’s some advice for the St. Petersburg senator: Don’t consider it any longer.
Just sponsor it.
Sebesta will be researching statewide accident statistics to look for correlations between cell-phone use and crashes. But the data will likely be less than conclusive. The Tampa Police Department, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol, for example, don’t track how frequently cell-phone use may contribute to accidents.
What we do know, however, is that Florida ranks seventh nationally in fatality rates for drivers between 16 and 20.
We also know from common sense that talking on a phone while driving is at least a distraction, at most a danger. We’re not going to rebottle the genie that is cell-phone ubiquity, but preventing cell-phone use by the most inexperienced drivers is doable.
So do it.