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Coconino County Cracks Down on Distracted Driving

April 28
16:56 2014

Drivers who get behind the wheel and talk, text or tweet on their cell phones better do it in another Arizona county as Coconino County cracks down on distracted driving.

text and driveLast week the Coconino County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed County Ordinance 2014-03: Regulation of Portable Communication Devices and Texting While Operating a Motor Vehicle. The ordinance goes into effect on May 22, 2014.

Our board feels strongly that this is a public health and safety issue that needs to be addressed. Countless studies have shown that distracted drivers are far more likely to be involved in a crash than those who are focused on what’s going on around them. On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, I thank the Public Health District Advisory Board, our public health staff and Sheriff’s Office for helping address this critical issue.”–Board Chairman Matt Ryan

The County postponed passing its own ordinance for years in hopes that Arizona lawmakers would pass a statewide law banning the use of cell phones and other devices while driving.

Many bills have been introduced in the Arizona Legislature but none have become law. Arizona is one of only three states without any regulation on the use of cellphones and other devices while driving.

It was important for the safety of our residents that we implement these safety measures in our area,” Supervisor Ryan said. “However, we still urge our lawmakers to consider a similar measure at the state level.”–Coconino County Supervisor Ryan

Coconino County ordinance against distracted driving

The ordinance states:

A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a portable communications device to engage in a call unless that device is configured to allow hand-free listening and talking, and is used exclusively in that manner while driving. Texting and typing are banned while operating a motor vehicle.”

The ordinance does not apply when:

  •  The driver uses a hands-free mobile device.
  • The purpose of the call is to communicate an emergency to a police or fire department, a hospital or physician’s office, or an ambulance corps.
  • Operating an authorized law enforcement or emergency vehicle in the performance of official duties.
  •  A person who holds a valid amateur radio operator license issued or any license issued by the Federal Communications Commission and is operating an amateur radio under the direction of authorized first responders in the event of an emergency.
  • A person is driving a motor vehicle on private property.
  • A driver has pulled off of the traveled portion of the roadway in a safe and legal location and placed the vehicle in park in order to operate a handheld portable communications device.

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