Throughout the U.S., many states have instituted widespread bans on texting and driving. These bans are intended to protect the public health and to stop drivers from engaging in one of the most dangerous behaviors behind the wheel. Unfortunately, Arizona is not one of the states with a texting and driving ban.
Our Phoenix, AZ accident lawyers know that lawmakers have made numerous attempts to try to institute a texting and driving ban. These attempts have largely been unsuccessful. It now appears that the latest proposed ban will also be unsuccessful as well.
Arizona Texting and Driving Ban Stalled
On February 20, the AZ Capitol Times reported on SB 1218. SB 1218 was authored by a Tucson Democrat and was intended to impose a texting ban for all drivers. If the ban was passed, Arizona would join Washington, D.C., and 39 other states in prohibiting drivers from sending and receiving text messages while they are operating their vehicles.
SB 1218 was the sixth bill that Tucson Democrat Steve Farley has authored or helped to author. None of the prior bills were met with success, and yet Farley persisted because of the importance of the cause. AAA Arizona is in support of a ban, and most experts agree that texting and driving should be prohibited to try to help make roads safer.
Unfortunately, Sb 1218 was doomed in the legislature, despite the AZ Capitol Times reporting that widespread public support exists for a ban, based on opinion polls. The ban did not even make it to a vote because it was assigned to three committees: Transportation, Government and Environment, and Public Safety. A bill has to get out of committee before it moves forward, and getting out of three committees is procedurally difficult.
Although SB 1218 was likely going nowhere, there are also two other senate bills being considered this year. SB 1241 is a ban on texting only for those under 18 who are driving on a permit and for drivers who have received a class G license within the past six months. SB 1393 would prohibit the use of all wireless devices when driving for mass transit operators. School bus drivers are already banned from driving and using wireless devices.
These bills have a greater chance of making it to the floor for a vote, and Farley indicated that if a bill does come to the floor, it could be amended to include the provisions found in SB 1218.
Arizona Residents Should Avoid Texting and Driving
Although the legislature is slow to adopt a texting and driving ban, Arizona drivers can still make the decision not to text and drive. Arizona motorists concerned about their safety should make this commitment since the chances of getting into a crash when texting are 23 times higher than the chances if you are not texting at the time.
Parents should also be sure to talk to their kids about texting and driving, since teens are the most likely to engage in the behavior and the most likely to be hurt by it.
Until lawmakers catch up, making the voluntary choice to avoid texting and driving can provide you with at least limited protection, although you'll still be at risk of getting hurt by someone else who has chosen to text and drive.
If you've been injured in an accident, contact the Israel Law Group at (888) 900-3667 for a confidential consultation.