This is not the first time an effort to ban texting and driving in Arizona has failed to make it through the legislature. In fact, lawmakers have tried several times in the past few years to get bills written which would convince the detractors who feel the issue is not worth a statewide ban to vote in favor of it.
This time supporters of the bill felt emboldened by a National Transportation Safety Board report and recommendation this past December which presented evidence they said showed distracted driving was the leading cause of vehicle crashes in the United States. The NTSB called for all states to enact bans on texting and driving, and even a compete on the use of handheld devices by anyone operating a vehicle.
Although a total statewide ban on texting and driving failed, there is measure getting some positive attention. The Senate has approved a bill which would effectively ban anyone with a learner’s driving permit, or anyone who has had their driving license for six months or less from using any handheld device for any reason while driving.
Arizona remains one of just 15 states which have so far resisted efforts to enact statewide texting and driving bans. Despite mounting evidence showing that distracted driving, often caused by the use of handheld and even hands-free devices, is now responsible for more vehicles crashes than drugs or alcohol, some lawmakers feel these decisions are best left to municipalities rather than state legislators. As an example, Texas lawmakers have avoided a statewide ban, but cities such as Dallas and Houston have some of the strictest rules against handheld devices in the nation.
For now, Arizona state lawmakers will rely on some limitations for inexperienced drivers, defensive drivers and local municipalities to police the number of distracted drivers and hope for the best.
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