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  • Board passes limits on cellphone use while driving

    May 02, 2017 | Read More News
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    Motorists in Pima County will no longer be able talk on a cell phone while driving without using a hands-free device. 

    The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2, with Supervisors Ramón Valadez cellphoneand Steve Christy opposed, to approve an ordinance at its May 2 meeting that prohibits motorists from using cell phones or other digital communications devices while driving unless they have hands-free technologies to assist. The ordinance goes into effect June 1.

    The ordinance reads: “A person may not use a handheld electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway unless that device is specifically designed or configured to allow hands-free use and is used in that manner.” 

    Pima County joins other regional jurisdictions in enacting the hands-free ordinance. 

    The City of Tucson in March prohibited the use of a cell phone without hands-free assistance while driving a secondary offense. 

    Oro Valley also has a hands-free ordinance, which the Town Council approved last year. 

    “We appreciate the Board of Supervisors passing this Ordinance which will make Pima County roads a safer place,” Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said. “Distracted driving unfortunately contributes to accidents, damage and injuries.  PCSD will take a sensible, educational and reasonable enforcement posture with respect to implementation of the Ordinance.”

    The new County ordinance has exemptions to cell phone use without hands-free devices for instances when motorists need to report an emergency to public safety officials, use while on property not open to the public and use by law enforcement and emergency personnel in the performance of their duties. 

    Distracted driving has increasingly been a cause of concern for public safety and public health officials. In 2015, 3,477 people died and more than 391,000 were injured as result of distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

    The NHTSA defines distracted driving as any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from driving such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, talking with other people in the car or operating other digital or entertainment devices like stereos or navigation systems. 

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