The 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 restriction would be in effect for six months after a new driver has received a license.
Due to failed efforts in the past few years toward an outright ban on cellphone use by all drivers, the measure is designed to complement already-existing restrictions on new drivers. For example, for the first six months after receiving a license, a teen driver may only have one other teen in the vehicle.
"This is an expansion of that," Sen. John McComish told Capitol Media Services.
It remains to be seen whether the ban will survive the House, where previous texting bans have been defeated time and time again.
Gov. Jan Brewer has been resistant to the bans in the past, but in 2010, asked teens to sign a pledge vowing not to text and drive. "You can write all the laws you want," she said. "But it sometimes doesn't make a whole lot of difference. People don't follow them."