On behalf of Daniel Callahan
State is now one of just two that does not specifically ban the practice
A bill that would have banned texting-and-driving in Arizona has been defeated by lawmakers, reports the Arizona Republic. The bill would have made texting-and-driving a traffic offense punishable by a $100 fine. Proponents of the bill had argued that Arizona was out of step with the vast majority of states on the issue and that a texting-and-driving ban was necessary to help reduce distracted driving car accidents. Opponents, however, claimed the bill was unnecessary and that current laws are sufficient to discourage texting while behind the wheel.
The bill in question has been proposed for nine consecutive times now and each time it has been defeated. The proposal would have made writing, reading, or sending a text message an offense punishable by a fine of up to $100. The bill was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 11 to 17. The lawmaker behind the bill, however, says he will likely try again next year.
The bill’s defeat means Arizona will remain without a texting-and-driving law for at least this year. Currently, Montana is the only other state that does not specifically ban texting while behind the vehicle of a car. In Arizona, the only ban on texting-and-driving is for school bus drivers.
While almost every other state in the country has a texting-and-driving ban, the proposal has proven unusually controversial in Arizona. Opponents of the bill claimed that current laws covering distracted driving already allowed officers to pull over a driver if they were texting because law enforcement agencies assume that texting-and-driving is inherently unsafe. As the Nogales International reports, opponents of the bill also said they were concerned about government overreach with a texting ban.
Proponents of banning texting-and-driving, however, say that current distracted driving laws are not enough. The lawmaker behind the bill points out that texting-and-driving is highly prevalent throughout Arizona, despite studies showing that the danger posed by distracted drivers is similar to impaired drivers. Safety advocates say that Arizona law is out of step with the rest of the nation and that too many drivers assume that because the state has not banned texting-and-driving that the offense is somehow harmless.
Distracted driving in any form, however, is never safe, as the countless victims of distracted drivers can attest. People who have been injured in a wreck that may have been the fault of a distracted driver should get in touch with a personal injury attorney. While Arizona may still lack a texting-and-driving law, that does not mean that distracted drivers who cause accidents cannot be held to account. A personal injury attorney can inform accident victims of the various ways they may be able to recover compensation from any driver who may have been responsible for a serious accident.