Arizona lawmakers are one step closer to a ban on the use of handheld devices by drivers under the age of 18 or those with a learner’s permit.

This week the Arizona Senate Committee on Public Safety and Human Services voted unanimously to make it illegal for motorists less than 18 years of age to text or use a cellphone while driving. The full ban will last for the first six months after they receive their learner’s permit.

This is Arizona’s latest attempt to limit the use of handheld devices by drivers. Two past efforts failed miserably due to lack of public support. This is despite a report by the National Transportation Safety Board which identified the use of handheld devices as the number one cause of crashes across the United States. The NTSB also called for every state to impose an outright ban on the use of such devices by all drivers, a measure which has had only a smattering of support in states such as Indiana, Texas and Arizona.

The fact is, the average teenager in the U.S. sends more than 5,000 texts every month. If the teen has a driver’s license you can bet your bottom dollar that at least a portion of those texts are sent from behind the wheel.

There is little argument to the belief that distracted driving is the single most likely cause of traffic fatalities. In fact, statistics show that distracted driving is more dangerous and more likely to cause a fatal crash than even drunk driving. Despite these facts, many states are still debating whether or not to impose a handheld devices ban on drivers due to the incovenience it might impose on those who have a long commute and need to do some work via phone while they drive.

There is little to be said in defensive of anyone who feels texting and driving is a necessity, however. It simply makes no sense at all.

Image: David Castillo Dominici /