Texting and Driving in Arizona
Because it diverts the focus and attention of a driver from the road, texting while driving has become an issue of legal discussion. Reading, composing, or sending an email or text message from a mobile device while operating a motor vehicle increases the risk of an accident and reduces a driver’s awareness and performance behind the wheel.
Because of increasing incidents involving crashes, accidents, injuries, and fatalities while using/exchanging text messaging, the subject of distracted drivers has caught the attention of the media as well as law makers. Oprah Winfrey even used her influence and the power of her show in order to encourage her viewers to follow “No Phone Zone” policy. Hoping to reach millions of people across the country, a few years ago she launched a campaign (as there were no laws) that asked her viewers to shut down their cell phones totally while driving.
In January 2010, a federal guidance prohibited commercial vehicle drivers from using text messaging while driving. Criminal or civil penalties may be charged to truck or bus drivers, for example, for texting while driving. Each state, however, has the power to legislate on the issue of texting and driving.
Where does Arizona stand on this legislation?
Currently, the city of Phoenix has banned texting and driving, but there is no law that prohibit all drivers from texting and driving in the rest of the state.
Recently FOX 10-KSAZ reported that a state lawmaker (Democratic state representative) is proposing legislation that would put a ban on texting while operating a motor vehicle on any Arizona roadway.
Under the proposal, sending or receiving a text while driving would be a civil traffic violation and violators would face a $200.00 fine. It seems that legislation and action taken in order to ban texting and driving stems from accidents caused by distracted drivers—specifically drivers looking at their cell phones instead of paying attention to the road.
Proponents of the legislation say that the intent of the bill is to prevent all persons operating a motor vehicle from driving while distracted. Targeting drivers who text is particularly motivating, as these drivers take their eyes and attention of the road. Advocates for this legislation and for a state-wide texting ban while driving are watching distracting driver reports and data that indicate a correlation between and an increase in accidents and texting. Safety of drivers on roadways in Arizona is a priority of the Department of Transportation and law makers, so possibly the law in Arizona will start with a text ban in the city of Phoenix and eventually include the entire state.
1731 West Baseline Rd., Suite #100
Mesa, AZ 85202
Office: (480) 448-9800
20325 N 51st Avenue Suite #134, Building 5
Glendale, AZ 85308
Office: (602) 509-0955
2 East Congress St., Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701
Office: (520) 441-1450
12725 W. Indian School Rd., Ste E, #101
Avondale, AZ 85392
Office: (623) 399-4222