KGUN 9News


Pima County considers texting while driving ban

Posted at 5:37 PM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-18 08:35:07-04
Here's another reason to put down that phone and keep your mind on your driving.
Pima County is considering a new law to make texting and driving illegal.  The city of Tucson already has a law like that but most of the rest of Arizona does not.
It can be tough enough getting around with your eyes, and your mind on the road----it's tougher still when texting and driving gives you, the driving skill of someone's who's drunk.
Now Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos is asking for a county-wide texting ban.
"How many people need to be run over?  How many people need to be in motor vehicle accidents, how much damage, dollar-wise, whatever do we have to have before we recognize that inattentive driving is the biggest--probably the biggest cause for motor vehicle accidents out there."
"The existing City of Tucson ordinance and the proposed ordinance for Pima County have roughly the same effect.  You can make a call.  You can take a call and there's no requirement for a hands-free either. But any sort of texting, emails, reading or writing them, that's out."
As in Tucson's law.  It's okay to text if you are standing still, at a red light for example.
Fines are consistent with Tucson’s as well: $100 if caught driving and texting, $250 if an accident happens while texting and driving.
Court records show Tucson Police write between about five and nine thousand tickets a year but only a small fraction of those were for texting.
From 2012 to the end of March 2016 Tucson wrote 90 tickets for texting, and fourteen for texting when there was an accident.
Some police say it's hard to see texting but State Senator Steve Farley, who's tried ten years to get a stateside ban, says there are good ways to tell.
"Especially at night, the cab lights up on the inside.  They know what's going on. And when someone's texting.  I've driven back and forth, Tucson to Phoenix a lot since I'm up in the Senate.  You see someone and the classic M-O is they're going over into the median, and back, over to the median and back.  Slowing, down, speeding up.  I pass them, they're always on their phone."
If Sheriff Nanos thinks it's about time for a county texting ban, a lot of you do too.
Jennifer Benson-Hoesch said this on KGUN9's Facebook: 
"YES! Too many kids (and adults) are dying because of this. They "think" it will only take a sec to look down really quick OR text back, then the unthinkable happens. It takes more than a sec. NO text is worth your life"
Paul Peterson says,"Ban ALL cell phone use when driving. Pull off the road if you can't control the urge to talk or text."
Other drivers do not want to see the new law happen.
Tracy Lopez asks, "How do they know you're texting. You could be dialing a number, answering a phone call,changing a song on your radio from your phone is all that gonna be banned also ?
On whether he wants a county text law Justin Renner says,"Not at all. It's the same as changing the radio station, looking down at your speedometer, or taking a drink from your soda. Those things all distract you from the road. Let us drivers be."