New Consequences of Texting and Driving



Lilly Threlkeld, Managing Editor

  Being on your phone while driving, something that everyone knows is unsafe, yet while on a five minute drive you can find countless on it. Well, as of the new year in Arizona you can get pulled over and fined for this.

Starting Jan 1, 2021 in Arizona the “hands off” bill went into effect. This bill allows police officers to ticket drivers who are on a hand held device while driving, with the only exceptions being emergency situations.

  “It is illegal in Arizona to talk or text on a cellphone while driving unless the device is in a hands-free mode,” according to the Arizona Department  of Public Safety. “This law prohibits drivers from using a cellphone or a stand-alone electronic device while driving unless it is being used in a hands-free mode. This includes, but is not limited to, cell phones, tablets, music and gaming devices.”

The main goal of this bill is to keep people off their cell phones while on the road to try and cut down on the number of distracted driver car wrecks. 

“This bill will change behavior so that people won’t be on their phone, so they won’t be texting and change behavior and allow law enforcement latitude to be instructive,” said Arizona’s governor Goug Doucy back in April at a press conference when he first signed the bill. “The objective here is to not write tickets, it’s to save lives.”

Considering that distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car wrecks hopefully ticketing people who are on the phone while driving will cut this down 

“Cell phone accidents cause six times more accidents than drunk driving according to the NHTSA” according to Combs High School drivers ed teacher Greg Moyes.“This makes sense because even a drunk is typically still looking at the road as opposed to people texting looking at their screen and not the road.” 

Arizona residents are hopeful that the bill will do as intended, as many have already been affected by drivers who were on their phone behind the wheel. 

I do believe that this will be an effective way to get people to ‘focus on the driving task,’ said Combs High School drivers ed teacher Greg Moyes. “I personally see people on their phones all the time while I drive. My wife, son, Alex, and four of his friends were in a major accident at the intersection of Germann and Ironwood after a driver admitted to texting and ran the red light hitting our Expedition and totaling the vehicle out. Thankfully everyone was wearing seatbelts and there were no major injuries.”

For the first violation one will be fined between $75 to $149, and for the second and any subsequent violations you will be fined anywhere between $150 to $250 according to the ADPS.

This law itself isn’t going to be enough to keep everyone safe so it is important that everyone remembers to stay focused on the road while driving and to remind those around you what the stakes are. 

“I do feel this is a good law where it is implemented to keep people focused. However, cell phones are a part of daily life and there is a need to have them with you in cases of emergency or just daily life,” Moyes said. “If you need to use them then pull over or wait until you stop at a red light to answer that text.”