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Jackie Fedeli
Jackie Fedeli
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Arizona distracted driving laws see red

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Should cell phone use in cars be banned?

A highway safety group rated Arizona’s traffic laws the second worst in the country, behind South Dakota. The lack of distracted driving laws contributed to Arizona’s “red” rating from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. The director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said he was questioning the whole ranking and the whole report.

For now, two distracted driving measures are advancing in the Arizona Legislature:

SB 1056, which would ban texting and cell phone use by drivers under the age of 18 who have had driver's license for less than six months. It was approved Jan. 26 and sent to the House.

HB 2512 would prohibit texting by all drivers. This won the approval of the Transportation Committee on Jan. 26.

Currently in Phoenix only, drivers are prohibited from text messaging. Fines are $100 or $250 (per accident). Why must someone wait to have an accident before they are fined? Should cell phone use in cars be banned? School bus operators cannot use cell phones at all while driving.

Other distracted driver bills are:

HB 2311 would prohibit use of wireless communications devices by drivers with learner’s permits as well as drivers under 18 years old who have had their licenses for less than six months.

HB 2312 wants to outlaw driving while distracted in any manner. Also, the Bill would require accident investigators to indicate whether distracted driving was a factor in a crash.

HB 2321 would outlaw text messaging while driving in Arizona with a $50 fine or $200 if in an accident.

Arizona is a state where in 2011 legislation passed both in the House and the Senate to allow firearms on college campuses. This was passed after the Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting incident by an alleged killer who was forced to drop out of community college because of his threatening behavior. Fortunately, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed it.

Once again in 2012, an Arizona lawmaker is renewing his fight to allow students and professors to carry guns on campuses. The NRA backed bill would bar public universities and community colleges from banning people with concealed-carry permits from carrying concealed guns on campus grounds.

In Arizona where gun rights trump liver transplants, it will be interesting to see if any distracted driving laws are passed. House Rep. Steve Farley has proposed distracted driving laws in past years without success.

1 Comment

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  1. Aly says:
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    Hi Jackie – I work for a personal injury law firm here in Houston, TX. We’ve seen the number of cases involving distracted driving increase significantly. Stricter laws are a good step to curbing the dangerous practice. Greater awareness, safer cars and safer devices/technology also play a part.

    Anyhow, thanks for sharing! – Aly