Drivers in Coconino County will now be fined for using their cell phones without a hands free device.
The new law went into effect on Saturday as drivers who were "distracted driving" started to receive fines. The enforcement passed by the county's Board of Supervisors in April.
Drivers caught texting or talking on a cell phone without using a hands free device will be facing fines that range from $100 - $250.
Flagstaff did not adopt the full ban, instead just banning texting while driving. Sedona, Page and Fredonia adopted the county's entire ordinance, said Nathan Gonzalez, spokesman for Coconino County.
Sedona police will issue only verbal warnings to drivers until February.
Because there is no statewide law regulating cellphones while driving, Department of Public Safety officers patrolling highways in the county will provide education — not citations — to drivers who are stopped and thought to be distracted.
Those who try to sneak in a quick text while at a stop light or stop sign should know the ban also applies when the car is temporarily stopped.
The ban doesn't apply in emergency calls to police or fire departments, or to a hospital, doctor's office or ambulance service; if the driver is on private property, or if the driver has pulled over on the road and parked the car.
Sending or reading a text takes a driver's eyes off the road for 5 seconds, and at 55 mph, that's equivalent to driving the length of a football field, according to Distraction.gov, a U.S. government website for distracted driving.
Great move by Coconino county. The entire state of Arizona should follow suit and ban all use of cell phones while behind the wheel. It's just too dangerous.