Kudos to Pima County!!!!
Although there is no Arizona ban on texting while driving, Pima County has joined the cities of Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff and Coconino County in outlawing texting and driving.
With a unanimous vote early last week, the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that prohibits drivers from using “a handheld electronic device for any purpose other than to initiate, receive, or engage in voice communication,” meaning making and receiving calls is still allowed while driving.
Before the vote, the supervisors heard from a number of residents, most of whom spoke in support of the measure. (ummm…most??? You mean some objected??)
Standing by a mangled bike to drive home his point, Brendan Lyons, who along with his girlfriend was struck by a distracted driver in 2013 , recounted his ordeal and the serious injuries he suffered.
“I hope this makes an impact on all of you,” he told the supervisors. “This isn’t about politics. This is about public safety.”
The measure exempts law enforcement and emergency responders, those driving school buses and drivers. It also allows for all uses of cellphones while vehicles are stopped.
(ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? POLICE OFFICERS AND SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS ARE STILL ALLOWED TO TEXT WHILE DRIVING?? What???!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Violation of the ordinance is a civil traffic violation, punishable by a $100 when the driver is not involved in an accident and $250 if the driver is involved in an accident. The measure is to take effect 30 days after Tuesday. Unlike Tucson’s ban, the county ordinance makes violations a primary offense, meaning law enforcement officers can pull over any motorist they suspect is using a cell phone illegally.
In the two years after Tucson’s ban went into effect in 2012, just 50 citations were issued, leading some to question to impact of the measure (or lack of enforcement by the police).
Nanos said he hopes the county will “have very few citations.” Though the ordinance will give his deputies more power to pull drivers over, he said they will use a “sense of reason” when enforcing the ordinance.
“The goal isn’t to write a ticket,” he added. “The goal is to get compliance.”
Several community members raised concerns about possible overreach. Tucson resident Ken Rineer said the ordinance was “vague” and could be used to cite drivers for “just holding a cellphone.”
So, don’t hold a cellphone while driving. You shouldn’t be doing this ANYWAY.
Of the roughly 29,400 collisions on Arizona state highways in 2015, distracted driving contributed to 2,729 of them, according to the Department of Public Safety.