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Drop the phone---new texting and driving laws

Posted at 7:22 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 22:22:45-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Attention drivers---Please put down your phones and listen to this: 

Even handling your phone when you drive is about to get you a ticket in Tucson and, a new state law will make it against the law for new drivers to text statewide.

There's more reason than ever now to get used to going hands free.  The City of Tucson's new hands-free ordinance is about to take effect and state lawmakers just passed a rule that applies anywhere to keep teens from testing behind the wheel.

In Texas, the 20 year old man who killed 13 people by colliding with a church bus last month said he was texting just before impact.

The City of Tucson got tired of quibbling with drivers over whether they're texting or doing something else, so as of Monday if police stop you and you're handling your phone too, you could be in for a ticket.

Arizona lawmakers just passed a law that says student drivers can't text and drive on learner's permits.  It takes effect in July 2018.  The law also applies for the first six months after teens get a regular licence or until they're 18.

State Senator Steve Farley's spent ten years trying to pass a law making texting and driving illegal.  

He says,  "The problem I have is it would appear that Governor Ducey and many of the legislators feel like now we're done.  Just simply banning texting while driving for the first six months of a 16 year old's driving career isn't gonna solve the problem."

Farley looks back to the Texas wreck.  Texas law bans all cellphone use for drivers under 18 but did not apply to the 20 year old who caused so many deaths.  

Farley hopes a stiffer law will make drivers think twice before they give in to that electronic addiction.

Trevor Burtzloff is a nineteen year old who says the ban in his home state of California does not stop texting and driving.

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked:  “Do you think there's any value to this idea that maybe we'll build a good habit in a new driver? 

Burtzloff says, “Their heart’s in the right place, I'd think they'd make the streets a safer place but I think especially in this generation where technology's such an important thing I don't think many kids are going to change their stance on it."