State Capitol News
Tue February 16, 2010
Texting while driving may soon be fined
Phoenix, AZ – Legislation approved Monday by a Senate panel would make it
illegal not only to write or send a text message while driving
but even to read one. Violators would face a $50 fine -- unless
they got into an accident. Then the cost would rise to $200. Sen.
Al Melvin said his constituents tell him they want the
restriction -- particularly those who have teens.
(I can see the concern and almost fear in their eyes and their
facial expression, worrying about their teenager losing their
life texting while driving.)
The legislation, if approved, would take effect in January. But
it includes an education period: Anyone pulled over during the
first month would get just a warning. After that, tickets start
getting issued. Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor said the legislation
will address at least part of the problem on Arizona roads.
(We look at all the various distractions that go on, even in
regular driving, whether it's someone trying to eat... I mean,
I've seen people trying to read on the highway. And it's
absolutely ridiculous. Even if you're sitting in stalled traffic
you still need to be paying attention.)
Nothing in Melvin's bill would stop motorists from continuing to
dial their phones manually or chat away while they're driving.
For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.