Apparently, the irony of voting to allow teenagers to endanger themselves and others by talking on cellphones while driving, on the same day that they voted to continue to shield innocent eyes from the sight of liquor being poured, was too much for even the usually shameless members of the Utah Legislature to endure.
There is scientific proof that talking or texting while driving, even with a hands-free device, impairs a driver's ability just as much as being drunk, proof developed right here at the University of Utah. Such behavior is measurably more dangerous than other potentially distracting things that drivers do, such as fiddling with the radio, eating a drive-through cheeseburger or arguing politics with passengers.
Yet it took two tries before the Senate gathered its wits and approved HB103. The bill that would prohibit drivers under the age of 18 from talking or texting while driving was voted down Tuesday, 11-13. But bill manager Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, found enough stray supporters to return to the floor Wednesday and pass the bill, 17-12. It now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert, who should sign it into law.