Texting behind the wheel is illegal in 47 states across the nation, but that number may soon go up now that an Arizona State Panel approved a new across-the-board ban on texting while driving.
The Senate Committee on Transportation and Technology unanimously approved Senate Bill 1261 earlier this year, which if passed into law, would create a new fine for drivers caught texting while driving. First offenders could be fined up to $99, and repeat offenders could be fined up to $200.
In cases where the use of a cell phone can be tied to an accident that resulted in serious injury or death, the negligent driver could be charged with a misdemeanor, and a fine of up to $4,000 in addition to being charged with other offenses, like manslaughter or reckless driving.
Proponents of this law have been pushing for legislative action for more than a decade, and while it doesn’t meet every goal, they agree that it’s a start.
“If this is the answer for now, we’ll take it,” said Sen. Lisa Otondo, D-Yuma.
This bill, introduced by Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, is modeled after legislation passed in Texas in 2017 that officially banned texting while driving and made it the 47th state to have such a ban in place. There is no vote currently on the schedule for this bill.
Distracted driving is a serious issue that claims thousands of lives every year, and this legislation may be able to make roads in Arizona safer for everyone. However, reckless drivers will continue to put the lives of fellow drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. in danger through their actions – if you were seriously injured because of a driver who was texting behind the wheel, give our Phoenix car accident attorneys at MayesTelles PLLC a call at (602) 428-7104 today, or fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our firm.