Texting While Driving Still Legal in Arizona

We have all heard how dangerous texting while driving can be. Studies conducted in vehicle simulators have shown that texting while driving impairs a driver’s abilities.

To combat the dangers of texting while driving, Arizona legislature has been trying to ban Arizonians from doing so for the second year in a row. Last Tuesday, it looked as though the legislature’s efforts had failed again when proposed legislation that would have prohibited writing, reading or sending text messages and e-mails while driving on a state highway died with an 11-11 vote by the Senate.

Two days later, Senators gave preliminary approval to the bill on a 17-11 vote, which would be enough support for passage on a formal vote that could occur sometime this week. Senate passage would send the bill to the House.

A change made Thursday was that drivers could text if they pull over to the side of the road and stop their vehicle.

The bill would not have prohibited talking on the phone while driving and would have allowed drivers to type a name or telephone number to make a call.

Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, introduced the bill that passed the Senate. As written, violators would face a $50 fine. If involved in an accident, they’d face a fine of $200.

Despite continued support from dozens of organizations, including cell phone company representatives, hospital, police and firefighter groups, legislation to ban the act has failed in its efforts thus far.

Legislators who voted against it acknowledged that texting while driving is dangerous, but said they opposed unnecessary government restrictions.

Supporters said the bill is about saving lives. They said parents would be able to tell their children that texting while driving is illegal.

Nineteen states prohibit all drivers from texting. Arizona is still in debate over whether or not they will be joining that list.

Legal or not, please always be conscious of driver safety and take every step you can toward preventing injury or harm to yourself and everyone else out on the road.

This post was intended to provide general information only and is not intended as specific legal advice. You should not rely upon this information alone, but should consult legal counsel regarding the application of the laws and regulations discussed and as applied to your specific case or circumstance.