Hands-free cell phone ban takes effect in Tucson

Published: May. 1, 2017 at 1:23 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:13 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - As of May 1, it is illegal to text and drive in Tucson.

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, nearly 3,500 people were killed in the U.S. in crashes involving distracted driving in 2015.

In January, the Tucson City Council voted to approve the hands-free driving ordinance in hopes of making Tucson streets safer.

Drivers who are caught holding a phone while behind the wheel will now face a hefty fine, but only if they have committed another serious driving violation.

The ordinance is a secondary offense, meaning drivers must be pulled over for another reason for police to issue a citation.

If caught, the fine would cost drivers $250 the first time. A second offense would be $500.

Tucson News Now talked to drivers and asked what they thought of the new ordinance.

"Definitely there's issues with people distracted driving. I've almost been hit several times. I know I've violated it myself off and on but I think it's good to know that you shouldn't," William Ward said.

"It's absolutely a great idea because all the time you see people talking on their phones and they have their phones up to the steering wheel and they're texting and not paying attention," Tina Ahlstead said.

Those involved in a crash while using a cell phone will be fined $2,500.

Tucson City leaders plan to review this ordinance again in six months to discuss the possibility of making cell phone use while driving a primary traffic violation.

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