The Coconino County Board of Supervisors has unanimously passed a resolution to ban cell phone use while driving. As Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports, county officials say it’s a response to inaction by the state.
The ordinance has been in the works for several years. It bans any kind of use of a portable communication device while behind the wheel. But, the use of hands-free systems like Siri are still allowed. Other exemptions include emergency situations or driving on private property. County Supervisor for District one Art Babbott says the ban is a reasonable approach to making roads safer.
“After giving the state of Arizona 20-plus tries to do something, we felt like it was important that we help lead that discussion since the state was unwilling to do that. Arizona is one of a handful of states that have not taken any reasonable common-sense measures to make our roadways just a little bit more safe,” Babbott says.
The county’s action does not apply to tribal land. But the Navajo Nation has already enacted a similar resolution. City officials in Coconino County are required to respond to the ordinance. But, it’s up to them as to whether they adopt the ban, change the wording or reject it. The measure was ratified on the heels of an Arizona Department of Public Safety report that found distracted driving to be a major factor leading to crashes on highways.