State Capitol News
9:52 am
Wed March 3, 2010

Motorists will remain free to text and drive for now

Phoenix, AZ – The proposal by Sen. Al Melvin would have made it illegal for
motorists to not only write or send a text message but also to
read one. Melvin said the measure, backed by both cell phone
providers and insurance companies, will save lives. Sen. Ron
Gould said it's certainly possible that drivers who are texting
are distracted. But he questioned why lawmakers were making only
this procedure a crime when there's a long list of other
practices by those behind the wheel.

(One of them was trying to get the last ice cube out of the
bottom of a Big Gulp cup. You're driving down the road, you're
trying to get that last ice cube out of the bottom of the cup and
it's blocking both your eyes. Clearly dangerous. We don't have
special legislation to outlaw Big Gulps.)

But Sen. Barbara Leff said texting is different because a driver
has to pay attention to the keypad and screen.

(Your eyes are not on the road. It's not even like you had a cell
phone where you can be talking and still looking up. When you are
texting, you're looking down. You are not looking at that road.
And there's no way that I can believe that anybody would think
this is safe to be texting while you're actively driving your
car.)

For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.