Arizona Views: Cell phone ban’s time has come

September 17, 2018

In Yavapai County, supervisors are considering a cellphone and texting ban while driving.

It is ironic. State officials complain when the federal government does not act; thus, they work on legislation in the meantime. Yet, when municipalities or counties do so — in lieu of legislative action — the state is not too happy.

The first has happened with immigration, border control, and myriad other measures. The latter saw state lawmakers upset that Bisbee outlawed plastic bags, for instance, to control litter; in that case, someone complained and the attorney general had to step in. Bisbee rescinded its ordinance.

In the case of cellphone use and texting while driving, no one disputes the losses — except maybe industry lobbyists. Many people have become victims of other drivers being distracted behind the wheel. Some people have died.

Sen. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, has worked for years on texting while driving bans. She was able to secure one, but only on new drivers. Others, such as for all ages or devices, failed for lack of support from her fellow legislators. Its time has come, folks.

All but three states ban texting for all drivers, the only exceptions being Arizona, Montana, and Missouri.

Irony No. 2: While there is no ban specifically making texting or driving illegal in the state of Arizona, the state does have distracted driving laws. We all know texting and talking on the phone while you are driving puts you at higher risk for being involved in a car accident.

I don’t think those current laws go far enough … or are they enforced?

Tim Wiederaenders, a former Lake Havasu City resident, is community editor for the Prescott Daily Courier.

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