Students divided over crackdown on teen driving accidents |

Students divided over crackdown on teen driving accidents

DENVER Kim Gaven, a sophomore at Overland High School in Aurora, said she believes several bills cracking down on teenage drivers that will be considered this week by lawmakers will help save lives.Brandon Harville, a senior at Summit High School, said there is no evidence to back up those claims.The two teens testified at a mock hearing for students at the Capitol on a bill (Senate Bill 36) that would ban new teen drivers from riding with other teens.The measure would also ban most drivers who have had their license for less than one year from driving between midnight and 5 a.m. It goes before the House Transportation & Energy Committee on Wednesday.Lawmakers also will consider a proposal (House Bill 1137) that would bar teen drivers with restricted licenses from talking on cell phones while driving. The Senate Transportation Committee takes up that bill on Thursday.Representatives of AAA, the Colorado State Patrol and the Douglas County sheriff told lawmakers that inexperienced teens driving with other teens are more likely to be involved in accidents because they take bigger risks or get distracted by their friends.Harville said there is no evidence teens are more likely to be distracted than other groups of drivers.Adults have accidents too. You need to increase awareness rather than take away driving privileges, Harville said.Other bills coming up this week: The House Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to vote Monday on a measure (House Bill 1177) that would create a 25-member interbasin compact committee, similar to the multistate Colorado River Compact, to promote equitable use of the states water supplies. Lawmakers say it is one of the most important water bills of the session, but opponents say it is a major step that will require more study. The bill is expected to be sent to an interim committee this summer for more work. The House Health & Human Services Committee is expected to vote Wednesday on a series of plans to spend about $175 million from the states new tobacco tax. Proposals include providing more tobacco cessation programs, expanding health care and putting some of the money in a trust fund to pay for programs if tobacco use declines, reducing tax revenues.

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