It's now against the law to hold a cell phone or any hand-held device while driving in Tucson. The new ordinance indicates anyone who is caught with a phone in their hand while driving, could be in for a ticket.
Violation of the new ordinance will be considered a secondary offense, meaning you must be pulled over for another reason before police can actually cite you. The city of Tucson says police officers got tired of arguing with drivers over whether they were texting or doing something else, so as of Monday May 1st, if police stop you and you're handling your phone too, you will be in for a $100 ticket.
The new violation will be classified as a civil traffic matter and for violations involving a traffic accident, there will be a penalty of $500.
"Whether it's talking and having that conversation with a loved one on a drive when you are stuck in traffic or you know trying to find that location with your GPS, you know certainly it's part of our everyday life nowadays and really what we are trying to do is make it the safest way as possible and by doing that and taking it out of your hands when you can focus on driving is one step to help with that distract driving and really if it is a phone call really it could wait," said Sgt. Kimberly Bay with Tucson Police.
Texting while driving already is banned in the city, but the new rules expand that ban to phone calls and the use of other hand-held mobile communication and electronic devices. That means you *must use a Bluetooth or a head set for a phone call.
The mayor and council agreed to review the ordinance in six months to see how it is working and whether it needs to be strengthened.
Pima County's Board of Supervisors will be considering a similar hands-free ordinance Tuesday.