Arizona Capitol

Arizona Ban on Texting While Driving Proposed for the Eighth Year in a Row

Maybe the eighth time's the charm.

State Senator Steve Farley, a Tucson Democrat, is proposing a ban on texting while driving, which he's proposed every legislative session for the past eight years.

See also:
-DPS Plans on Giving Speeding Tickets to People Caught Texting While Driving

Farley has said that he was the first legislator in the country to propose such a ban when he introduced the first version of his bill in 2007.

Since then, 41 other states have passed laws banning texting while driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Eleven legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, have signed on as sponsors or co-sponsors to Farley's bill this time around.

Senate Bill 1147 specifically bans "operat[ing] a motor vehicle on a highway while using a wireless communication device to send or receive written messages."

Exemptions are laid out for police officers or drivers of emergency vehicles "while in performance of official duties."

A ticket for such an offense would be $100, and $300 for repeat offenders.

If a driver texts and gets into a crash, the fine would be upped to $500, and if that crash is fatal, the fine would be $10,000.

Though there is no law on the books that specifically bans texting while driving, the Arizona Department of Public Safety has aired the idea of giving speeding tickets to people texting on highways.

A DPS spokesman told New Times in November that the department was developing the plan, but the idea is based on the state law for speeding, which says you can't drive at a speed "greater than is reasonable and prudent." The thought from DPS is that there's no reasonable speed for someone who's texting while driving.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley