Breaking down three new distracted driving bills

Breaking down three new distracted driving bills

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - A simple touch of a button or a swipe on a screen has proven to have deadly consequences.

"It’s everywhere. You see it everywhere. You’re on the road and people are on their phones. And sometimes you see them swerving off the road.” said Maria Lopez.

Lopez has driven these Tucson roads for more than 20 years. In her time she’s seen plenty of distracted driving. But also, like much of the public, admitted she’s been a culprit of it as well.

"Because I saw it was my daughter calling and I thought I would answer because I thought it was an emergency and it wasn’t. It only took a couple seconds where I was already going to get onto the sidewalk and have an accident.”

Now she’s learned her lesson and keeps her phone down for her and her passenger’s sake.

“I always carry my kids in the car so it’s better to be safe with them in the car.”

Right now there are three proposed bills hoping to tackle distracted driving. And if one becomes a law, the next time a driver gets behind the wheel and picks their phone up, they could have to pay up.

House bill 23-18 is mostly likely to reach Governor Ducey’s desk.

This bill would make it so a driver can’t text or email or talk on the phone while holding it. They can call 911 and use ‘hands free’ mode.

Answer that call or text and they could pay upwards of $149 for that first violation.

Senate Bill 11-65 would make it illegal for a driver to use a phone unless stopped at a red light or parked.

But it would only be a secondary offense, meaning an officer would have to stop them for another violation first.

If passed, it wouldn’t go into effect until 2021, allowing drivers time to learn the new rules of the road.

Finally SB 11-41 is a general distracted driving bill that doesn’t just ban the use of electronics. It says that drivers can be ticketed for doing anything behind the wheel that creates a hazard to them or others.

Tucson, Oro Valley, and Pima County currently have distracted driving ordinances in place.

All of those would be replaced by anything approved by state lawmakers.

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