Oro Valley votes unanimously to pass 'hands free' ordinance

Published: Dec. 7, 2016 at 7:47 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2016 at 2:24 AM MST
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Last year, more than 2,700 accidents were caused by distracted driving in Arizona, according to...
Last year, more than 2,700 accidents were caused by distracted driving in Arizona, according to the Department of Public Safety. (Source: Tucson News Now)

ORO VALLEY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Oro Valley is the first in this area to pass a hands-free ordinance, after the town council voted unanimously to pass it at a public hearing on Wednesday night.

Town Council and the Oro Valley Police Department say the City of Tucson, Marana and Pima County are interested in this ordinance and could mirror this same plan.

Lt. Chris Olson with the Oro Valley Police Department said the different ordinances for the county and city puts an unfair burden on drivers. He said there could be benefits to an ordinance that applies to the whole region.

"So as citizens are driving from one jurisdiction to another, they don't have to worry about the change in laws. So for us it makes sense that we all come together and adopt an ordinance that is the same and enforced the same way," Olson said.

James Rollins, a driver. said he's not surprised about Oro Valley's push to go hands free.

"That's the way everybody's headed. There's way too many crashes and everything else. Way too much focus on the phones. So I understand trying to use maps and stuff like that it's going to make it a lot more difficult but the cars are kind of catching up so a lot of things have hands free in the car already," Rollins said.

This ordinance will take effect in 30 days.

Olsen said however, there will be a big push for education before they start handing out citations. This will include working with high schools and PSAs at local movie theaters.

The Oro Valley Town Council has voted unanimously to adopt a "hands free" ordinance, after a public hearing on Wednesday night.

This ordinance states, "No person shall, except as otherwise provided in this ordinance, use a mobile telephone or portable electronic device while operating a motor vehicle upon a street or highway, unless that device is specifically designed or configured to allow hands-free listening and talking and used in that manner while operating a motor vehicle."

The ordinance defines "hands free" as the "use of a mobile telephone or portable electronic device without the use of either hand by employing an internal feature of, or an attachment to, the device."

The ordinance applies when someone is "temporarily stopped because of traffic, a traffic light or stop sign or otherwise."

Last year, more than 2,700 accidents were caused by distracted driving in Arizona, according to the Department of Public Safety.

You can read the full ordinance HERE.

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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