Tucson's Proposed Ban on Texting While Driving Would Exempt Cops and Firefighters; Possible Ban Also Refers Only to "Written" Messages

Cops, firefighters and "public transit personnel" would be exempted in Tucson's proposed ban on texting and driving.

The Tucson City Council will take public comments on the proposed ordinance at a hearing on Tuesday, then vote on it. Says a Tucson TV station, the law would take effect immediately.

Of course cops would want themselves exempted from a law. Great idea -- until an officer blows through a red light while texting and driving and kills someone.

Republican councilmember Steve Kozachik, who proposed the ordinance with Democrat Karen Uhlich, tells Arizona Public Media that "all the data indicates that it's even more dangerous than driving while intoxicated."

Next, Kozachik and Uhlich will probably propose letting cops and firefighters drive drunk.

The proposal has another obvious flaw. Cops won't be able to tell at a distance whether a motorist is texting or, say, dialing a phone number. We wonder if police would be able to investigate the crime on-the-spot with an intrusive inspection of the device.

People driving through Tucson while sending and receiving porn images under this proposal won't have a thing to worry about, either.

The proposal only bans sending and receiving a "written message."

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.