State Capitol News
4:11 pm
Mon March 22, 2010

State senate votes to make texting while driving illegal

Phoenix, AZ – The legislation would make it illegal to operate a vehicle on a
roadway while sending, receiving or reading a text message. It
would not matter whether the device used is a cell phone or
personal digital assistant. Violators would be subject to a $50
fine, a penalty that rises to $200 if there is an accident. The
measure does contain an exception allowing motorists to send and
receive texts while behind the wheel if they pull off the road
and park the car. Trying to check texts while at a traffic light,
however, would be illegal. Opponents argued that this is what
they call nanny state legislation, with the government telling
people what's good for them. But Sen. Ed Bunch said he, too,
opposes nanny state measures.

(But I don't really see this bill as a nanny state bill. Texting
while driving is basically irresponsible, plain and simple.
Sometimes as a society we have to remind people about what
personal responsibility entails. It means being responsible for
yourself. But it also means being responsible to other people so
that you don't put them in danger.)

But Sen. Ron Gould argued it is unnecessary, saying driving while
texting already is illegal under reckless driving laws. The 19-10
Senate vote is just half the battle. The measure now goes to the
House. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.