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Citations for Arizona distracted driving law start New Year's Day

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Posted at 4:30 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 19:30:18-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Drivers can get a ticket for handling a phone no matter where they are in Arizona starting January 1.

The state law will replace Tucson’s ordinance.

“You’re not allowed to text message, you are not allowed to use maps, obviously any social media,” Tucson Police Spokesperson Sgt. Richard Gradillas said. “We’ve had Snapchat while driving, a lot of unsafe behaviors.”

It is illegal to talk or text on a cellphone while driving unless it is in a hands-free mode. The law says you also can’t touch your tablets or music and gaming devices.

“Propping on your knee or any body part, people talk with it on their shoulder against their ear, that’s not allowed either,” Gradillas said.

Gradillas says the state law is almost identical to the city code and will replace it come New Year's Day. Exemptions include commercial two-way radios, people who need to call 911, and if you are stopped at a red light or railroad crossing.

"As soon as the light turns green obviously or the railroad tracks come up and you’re able to go, then you have to put the phone away,” he said.

Gradillas says keeping your hands off of devices while driving is a good resolution for the new year.

“We are hoping this will reduce accidents when it happens and bring drivers attentions back to where it needs to be which is on the roadway and limit unnecessary loss of life from distracted driving,” he said.