Melbourne lawmaker wants to ban teens from using cellphones while driving

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MELBOURNE, Fla. —

A Melbourne lawmaker wants to make it illegal for drivers younger than 18 to use a cellphone behind the wheel.

Florida is one of only six states with no restrictions on driver cellphone usage, but the proposed law could take away a teenager's driver's licenses for 30 days if they're caught.

"Seems like every time someone cuts you off in traffic or swerves out of their lane, sure enough when you get beside them, they're on a cellphone, and it's ridiculous," said driver Adam Byrd, who supports the proposed law. "With the technology in cars today, there is no reason you ought to have a phone in your hand."

Yet Florida lawmakers have failed time and again to place any restrictions on using a cellphone in vehicles.

Don Mair is working to change that. He became an activist after his 12-year-old daughter, Gabby, was hit and killed two years ago.

"There is always someone who says texting and driving is a right," said Mair. "They took Gabby's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness away."

Mair said he believes the driver who hit his daughter was distracted by a cellphone, even though he never admitted that. And since it is not illegal, law enforcement can only rely on a driver's admission.

Parents who talked with WFTV said they're concerned the latest bill doesn't go far enough.

"If you consider the consequences, they could lose their life or take the lives others, but it doesn't quite seem tough enough," said Byrd.

Mair said he doesn't think so either.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said 11 teenagers die every day nationwide from texting and driving.

It is already against the law in 32 states for teens to use cellphones in any way while driving.