Tempe drivers might soon want to put down their cellphones. Second, it’s about damn time at least one governmental entity in Arizona got something right.
The Tempe City Council voted 4-3 to adopt one of the strictest distracted-driving ordinances in the state. “It saves lives. It’s that simple,” said Councilman Kolby Granville on why he pushed for the ordinance.
“Statistically, when you pass a law like we’ve modeled it after, accidents go down significantly.” Under the ordinance, drivers can still talk or text behind the wheel.
However, they could be fined if police catch them swerving within their lane or displaying other types of erratic driving with a phone in their hand. Fines for a first offense would be $100.
A second violation would jump to $250.
Any fine thereafter within a two-year period would cost $500. Opposing council members feared the ordinance could ensnare motorists who visit Tempe unaware of the new rules since the Tempe ordinance was unlike any other in the Valley.
(Really??? Let’s not pass a law so the dangerous drivers who visit our city don’t think bad about us after we give them a ticket for driving dangerously.
Was this a serious argument???????) Granville said laws have always varied from city to city and Tempe’s recent history proves this council isn’t afraid to go it alone.
Earlier this year, the Tempe council passed a ban on smoking while driving with kids in the car, which was also the first of its kind in the Valley.
Mayor Mark Mitchell, who along with Councilman Corey Woods voted against the ordinance, preferred working through the state Legislature to enact a statewide law.
(Yeah, like THAT is going to happen. OK—OK---here is my opinion: Let’s wait for SOMEONE ELSE to do it first!!)(Note: From the Mayor of a city) Councilman David Schapira, a former state legislator: “Tempe shouldn’t wait on the state to act when lives can be saved now.”
Schapira said it’s up to cities to pick up the slack and pass laws the Legislature is unwilling to. Hooray for Councilman Schapira!!
Nationwide, 46 states ban texting for drivers, while 14 states and Washington, D.C., prohibit drivers from talking on a cellphone.
Tempe’s not the first city in Arizona to pass a law addressing driving and cellphone use.
Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff have texting-specific laws on the books—they just don’t do much to enforce them.
But those laws are difficult to enforce since drivers can claim they were using their phones for other things instead of texting.
Tempe's law makes it easier to fine a driver for distracted driving while using a cellphone.
Tempe’s law will take effect in 30 days.
Distracted driving in America
* 69 percent of drivers admit to talking on a cellphone while driving within the last 30 days.
* 31 percent of drivers admit to texting while driving within the last 30 days.
* 26 percent of driving fatalities are because of distracted driving, the third leading cause behind alcohol (30.8 percent) and speeding (30 percent).
* Studies have shown texting while driving is six times more dangerous than driving drunk