Texting While Driving: Arizona Tries Again for a Ban

Texting and driving go together like oil and water. The dangers of drivers becoming distracted while texting are well documented. Arizona is trying to do something about it.

While Arizona is one of 11 states that don’t have a statewide ban on texting while driving, there are some prohibitions in the state. For instance, school bus operators may not use cell phones while driving. Also, since 2007, Phoenix drivers are prohibited from text messaging and face fines of $100–$250 if they do. Finally, on February 23, 2012 the Tucson City Council unanimously approved a ban on texting while driving. The law became effective April 1, 2012 and can result in fines from $100–$250.

There is no doubt that this is a controversial topic amongst Arizona legislators. For instance, last year, the Arizona House briefly approved a statewide ban on text messaging but then quickly backtracked with a re-vote after many members claimed they were surprised to learn they had voted on texting. The bill was quickly defeated on the re-vote.

Over the years, the leading Arizona legislator pushing for a texting ban is State Representative Steve Farley (D-Tucson). At least five distracted driving bills were introduced for the 2012 legislative session, and Rep. Farley was listed as a sponsor of three of them. All of those bills failed.

Rep. Farley is trying again this year. He has introduced a bill that would ban texting while driving for all drivers, SB1218. This bill is one of only five Senate bills to be triple assigned. This means that it must pass through three committees, any one of which can kill it. He has also introduced a cell phone ban that, if passed, would ban cell phone use only by teenage drivers with learners permits. It applies to drivers ages 16–18 and the ban would last for only six months.

Whether these bills pass this year or not, some legislators continue pushing for the ban. The safest Arizona drivers avoid the temptation to text and instead keep their eyes on the road ahead. If you have been injured by a negligent driver, contact a Tucson auto accident lawyer today.

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