Texting and driving is undeniably a dangerous practice. Distraction.gov figures show that there is a 23 times greater chance for a texting driver to get into an accident than for a non-texting driver.
Despite the clear dangers of texting while driving, Arizona is one of only a handful of states that allow texting while driving.
After the new year, however, lawmakers likely will begin debating the merits of a texting while driving ban in Arizona. According to KTAR, a state Sen.-elect Steve Farley, D-Tucson, said he will reintroduce legislation in 2013 to ban texting behind the wheel. The House has repeatedly rejected such proposals.
Our Phoenix injury attorneys urge Arizona lawmakers to pass the texting and driving bans so that drivers throughout the state will know that it is illegal to send or receive texts behind the wheel. We also urge all drivers to remember that texting and driving is dangerous and to refrain from doing it at any time.
In March, the Arizona House rejected a bill to make driving while texting illegal. Critics of a texting while driving ban say it amounts to over regulation.
While there is no statewide ban, texting while driving is against the law in Tucson. The City Council in February approved a measure that allows police officers to stop someone who is suspected of texting. The penalty is for text messaging (when an accident is not a factor) is "not less than $100 plus any other penalty assessments authorized by law," according to the statute.
If you are involved in an accident while text messaging, the fine is not less than $250 in addition to other penalties.
It would be safer and more accidents could be prevented if the law unequivocally banned texting everywhere. We believe lawmakers in 2013 should seriously consider a statewide texting ban.
As personal injury lawyers in Phoenix, we have seen first-hand the devastating impact of a distracted driving accident. According to the Tucson Sentinel, studies have indicated that texting while driving can have a similar effect on reaction times and driver awareness as drunk driving.
Refrain from Texting and Driving
Regardless of whether the Arizona law passes and a ban becomes widespread throughout the state, drivers should still make the voluntary choice to refrain from texting even if they have the right to do so. Distraction.gov indicates that when a person sends or receives a text while driving at 55 miles per hour, his attention is away from the road long enough to drive the full length of a football field blind. It is clear that this is inherently dangerous and there is no reason to take this type of unnecessary risk.
Parents of teen drivers should be especially careful to monitor their teens for texting behavior, especially as US News warns that 43 percent of teens admitted in a survey that they text while they are driving even though 97 percent of those responding to a survey know that it is dangerous.
If you've been injured in an accident, contact the Israel Law Group at (888) 900-3667 for a confidential consultation.