State Capitol News
3:36 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Drivers May Lose Right to Text Behind the Wheel

Phoenix, AZ – The legislation imposes a $50 fine on anyone caught driving while
texting, with a $200 penalty if there's an accident. The plan
drew derision from Sen. Ron Gould. He pointed out that cell
phones do things that would remain legal while barreling down
the road, like running a spreadsheet program, playing video
games, and even watching a video. He said that makes it
unenforceable.

(When an officer pulls somebody over under the suspicion that he
was texting while driving, the officer's going to approach the
car and then say I believe you were texting while you were
driving. And the passenger will then say no I wasn't, to which
the officer then says, well let me see your phone, which the
informed citizen motorist will then say let me see your warrant.)

As proof these laws do not work, Gould said Phoenix has cited
fewer than a dozen motorists under its local restriction. But
Sen. Al Melvin said it means no such thing.

(I contend and others do that it's working. That's why there have
been so few citations.)

And Melvin said just having the law on the books will make a
difference.

(It will help parents with their teen-age children to try to
convince them not to text while driving. I believe it will save
lives.)

Senators gave the plan preliminary approval Thursday on a voice
vote. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.