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Could hands-free cellular law go county wide?

Posted at 11:38 AM, Dec 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-08 20:29:26-05
Right now it's legal to text on your phone when you're stopped at a light.
 
But in 30 days a new law takes effect in Oro Valley that forces drivers there to stay hands-free unless they are parked off the road.
 
Now other local governments may apply those same rules county wide.
 
Police have an easier time figuring out who's breaking the law if they don't have to prove what you did with your phone, only that it was in your hand.
      
In a month Oro Valley will require drivers to have electronics devices that will be hands-free only unless drivers are off the road and parked.  Oro Valley's Town Council passed the law Wednesday night.
      
Tucson Councilmember Steve Kozachik says Tucson already had a hands-free law in draft form it may pass soon, in a drive to have a consistent law across the county.
 
He says, “There is no exemption for being stopped at a light because frankly you're still in traffic and so let's not have people try to time the light, I got 30 seconds to make a quick call kind of thing."
 
Drivers we talked to say they're seen more than reckless phone use, ranging from putting on makeup to eating elaborate meals.  They do like the idea of a consistent law wherever they drive.
       
Carlos Ruiz, Junior saw a wreck that convinced him it's a good move to keep off the gadgets at red lights.
 
"I was at the light at 22nd and Wilmot and I saw somebody get rear-ended because the person behind them was looking at their phone, thought the light was green and hit the gas."
 
Harold Becker wishes  distracted driving laws covered more than electronics.
 
"I find a lot of people that are putting makeup on at the stop signs, even while they're moving.  They're texting, they're on the phone.  I think all that should be illegal."
 
But some of the same people who forced an election that banned red light cameras are talking about loosening the hands-free laws.
       
Mark Spear thinks the law could be abused and that a safety campaign would work better than a tougher law.  He says people like him may use an upcoming election to pressure the city of Tucson.  They may urge voters to reject a half-cent sales tax the city wants for road repair and other city services.
 
"That organization is being put together right now and we'll see if there are other organizations that are opposing sales tax and they may integrate in with us then, so..."
     
But for now, drivers have another reason to drop the phone and drive.