For one brief, shining moment, it appeared that Arizona might, at long last, join 46 other states and impose a ban on texting while driving.
Or not, as it turns out. Again.
Senate Transportation and Technology Chairman Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, says he won’t hear Senate Bill 1049 because he “doesn’t think his fellow Republicans are ready for it.” Ummm…WHAT????!!!!!!!
It is a law that has come before the Arizona Legislature multiple times. It is not rocket science. But our legislators are “not ready for it”? What exactly are they doing down there????
Instead, the legislature will hear a bill on Tuesday aimed at barring teen drivers from texting for the first six months after they get their driver’s license or until they turn 18. However, the fact is that the great majority of texting crashes occur from adult drivers—not teens.
Since 2007, Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, has been trying to outlaw the far-too-common practice of careening down Arizona’s roadways while texting, checking your Facebook status or otherwise fiddling with your phone when you’re supposed to be paying attention to what the heck you’re doing. (Driving, that is, not thumbing on a tiny keyboard.) But since 2007, the Legislature has steadfastly rejected Farley’s ban on texting while driving.
Never mind that your risk of getting into a crash or near-crash is 23 times greater if you're doing it (according to a 2009 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute).
A 2012 survey of AAA members in Arizona said that 92 percent support a ban on texting. So, what is happening down at our legislature??
Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, is sponsoring this year’s ban on texting while driving, saying it’s “extremely dangerous and just crazy.”
But Kavanagh’s bill won’t even get a hearing. Instead, Sen. Karen Fann’s six-month moratorium on teen texting and driving will be heard.
Count Susan Huff among the disappointed. Her father, Tom Hall, was hit and killed last year while riding his motorcycle, struck from behind by a driver who was busy looking for her cell phone as she barreled down the highway. Huff says Fann’s bill sends the wrong message.
“This bill tells everyone that teens are the main source of the problem and that adults don't need to be held responsible for their own actions,” she told me.
But actually, under the current proposal, teens wouldn’t be held accountable either once they have a grand total of six months of driving experience.
One word here folks: ABSURD.