Teen driving legislation - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Teen driving legislation

Kristen Guilfoos
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, TX - It can be just as dangerous as driving drunk and more than half of Texas teens admit to doing it.

For the past year, it's been illegal for anyone younger than 18 to use a cell phone while driving, that means texting, talking or even using a hands free device.

But police are running into some bumps in the road when it comes to cracking down on texting teens. They say it's hard to tell at a glance as they drive by if the driver is under 18.

If they do catch you, though, the fine is not cheap. "It's a Class C misdemeanor so it could be punishable by a fine up to $500."

It's an issue that's been front and center for quite some time now, and State lawmakers say they will talk about it again when they meet in January.

They say they're going to work with law enforcement to try and reach common ground, something that protects drivers, but doesn't waste policeman's time.

"One of the problems that we always get into. We got into it with the seat belt law, anytime you talk about cell phones or texting is we already ask a lot of our police officers. It's a tremendous burden on the officer because he's gotta decide whose a teenager when he sees them."

Smithee says he's heard other lawmakers are planning on proposing a total ban on texting during the 2011 legislative session.


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