PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Gov. Doug Ducey signed HB-2318, a ban on hand-held cellphone use behind the wheel in Arizona, into law Monday.

[WATCH: ‘We need to change our behaviors today.’]

The signing ceremony took place inside the Rotunda of the Arizona Capitol Museum.

[RELATED: What you need to know about Arizona's new texting-and-driving ban]

“Let’s send a message that that text message can wait. It’s not worth your life,” Ducey said before signing the measure.

Ducey was joined by the family of fallen Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend, who was killed by a suspected distracted driver this past January. 

[ORIGINAL STORY: DPS: Driver was texting when he hit, killed Salt River officer on Loop 101 in Scottsdale]

Ducey said momentum changed thanks in large part to the advocacy of Clayton's mother Toni Townsend. Authorities said the driver who hit him was texting his wife.

“I think everyone just saw this as such an avoidable death,” Ducey said. “And when someone comes down and speaks with the power and passion of a mom on behalf of a fallen son, how could they not deliver it to the governor’s desk?”

Although HB 2318 bans handheld cellphone use while driving, drivers can use their phones at stoplights and when their vehicle is parked. Drivers are also allowed to use their phones in an emergency.

[WATCH: HB-2318 becomes 'the law of the land']

Officers can issue warnings immediately and can write tickets starting in 2021. Lawmakers hope the delay will give people time to learn about the new law.

[WATCH: New distracted driving law means major adjustments for AZ drivers]

A first violation would result in ticket of between $75 and $150. A second violation would be a ticket of up to $250.

[RELATED: Distracted driving bill passes Arizona House, goes to Ducey's desk (April 18, 2019)]

Cities, towns and counties that have their own distracted driving ordinances can continue to enforce those laws for the time being.

“There is a law that’s been signed into effect, but we need to change our behaviors today,” Toni said. “We don’t have to wait for the law. A lot of lives can be saved. We’re educating starting today.”

Arizona is 48th state to ban texting and the 18th state to ban hand-held phone use while driving, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

[RELATED: Arizona House Republicans look for compromise on texting ban]

Ducey declined to say whether he’ll sign a second bill approved last week that strengthens Arizona’s existing distracted driving law, allowing officers to make a stop for any action unrelated to driving that creates an immediate hazard. It was proposed as an alternative to restricting cellphone use that wouldn’t specifically target a driver’s behavior, which some Republicans found more palatable.

The Arizona law leaves Montana and Missouri as the only states that do not ban texting for anyone driving, though Missouri does for drivers 21 and younger.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

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(46) comments

slickness

As a native born and raised Phoenician I have been very against Gov Doug Ducey and his efforts to California our Arizona. The cell phone ban is just another way of "pimping the citizens".

Ducey uses loopholes to do his dirty work, promised to not increase taxes but increases fees instead. His push for the DMV public safety fee costs more then many vehicles reg fees combined, the originator of the bill now opposes the regulation and it put us on the track to CA like DMV fees.

He brings in businesses with state benefits tax breaks that residents have to pay for. The increased traffic on our roads beyond what civil engineers designed for. Phoenix has an unstable growth problem. Phoenix was a nice, uncrowded place to live with a low cost of living. In 2000, you could go from 35th ave and Peoria to the loop 101 and 202 interchange in 30 minutes at 5pm. Modern Phoenix is becoming more and more like LA, the same drive time has nearly doubled and if there is an accident make it triple. The local government is pumping money into growing business, bringing more people in, but not into our decaying infrastructure and horrible schooling system that Ducey does not even let his own children use.

Arizona has long withheld the cellphone use because we valued our freedom from our local government telling us what do inside our vehicles. Furthermore, is statistically proven, that banning cell phone usage when driving does not decrease vehicle accidents (1)(2). Now people will continue to text, just with the phones down low and out of line with vision of the new DPS hires and the money will be used to fund more Ducey California like government growth ventures.

(1)https://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/49/8/5

(2)https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123084040

ObeyLaws

Just read these comments and you'll see why our legislature can't get anything accomplished. Even you mouth breathers want to argue and obfuscate something pretty straightforward. Be let's not be fooled - If you think people are suddenly going to stop texting and driving because of a law, you're tragically naive'.

andthesurveysays

Bluetooth. It's not just from colored candy anymore!

Big Rich

No tickets until 2021......talk about kicking it down the road.....LOL!

Wazoolie

It gives officers a good reason to stop these idiots and find other things like drugs.

ThatGayGay

Which will disproportionately target people of color due to bias in the way our police operate.

Clyde

Distracted driving was already a law in Arizona so what is different with this one ? Distracted driving means no texting and driving and then some

nuusmaan

Define "distracted", ask a defense lawyer. This law is specific, it addresses a specific problem. Not much wiggle room.

Daddy

Clyde - 'Distracted driving' is too vague (like numerous Arizona laws) and is not specific. Arizona's laws need to be specific not vague gray areas. Arizona's numerous vague laws are why so many innocent people go to prison in Arizona and why many guilty people go free. Specific laws greatly reduce the numbers in both of these situations. Arizona needs to revamp its laws to be specific with narrow parameters that lead to "either the person did or didn't do...". Not vague wide open parameters which lead to "kinda did and kinda didn't" situations.

Dynastie82

Can you still talk and drive ?? Like rest the phone on your chest while talking on speaker if your bluetooth stopped working etc etc??

Wazoolie

Are you really that ignorant?

nuusmaan

Read the law, shown above, and get back to us. It's pretty clearly defined in section 2.

ggfergu

The law says it is illegal to drive while supporting a device(phone) with ANY part of the body. So you can't talk on it if it's being supported by your hand, chest, shoulder, neck etc. But it would be OK to talk on it with speaker or bluetooth if it's in a cell phone holder in the console or dash.

Fordelford

Thank you Jesus for finally bringing this to our state to many are doing this and to many innocent lives are killed because of this!!! This should carry the same penalties as dui!!!!

nuusmaan

Why thank just one legislator, Jesus (not sure of last name), and not Jim, and Bonnie, and Marcus, and Debbie, etc.? Is this Jesus to whom you refer on the House or the Senate side?

Webo

His last name is Christ. While He is not affiliated with any political party, He is Ruler over all of our legislators. So ya, you should thank Him most of all.

Daddy

It's about time, smh.
Good lo*d, it's crazy how loooooong it took Arizona to do this basic thing. The AZ legislature has been filled with ignorance for a loooong loooong time. There're still some who crossed their arms, dug in their heels and voted against this....they clearly have an aversion to intelligent legislation.
NO texting while driving, DUH STUPID. smh.

Clyde

It had already been the law for years it's called distracted driving

Daddy

Clyde - 'Distracted driving' is too vague (like numerous Arizona laws) and is not specific. Arizona's laws need to be specific not vague gray areas. Arizona's numerous vague laws are why so many innocent people go to prison in Arizona and why many guilty people go free. Specific laws greatly reduce the numbers in both of these situations. Arizona needs to revamp its laws to be specific with narrow parameters that lead to "either the person did or didn't do...". Not vague wide open parameters which lead to "kinda did and kinda didn't" situations.

Noslippin

Seen too many suicidal drivers trying to text while driving! Making a call is distracting enough, but texting is just plain stupid while driving. I am glad that AZ finally passed a law to prohibit this activity!

JustinP

Define 'driving' please. If my kid is waiting at a stoplight and they whip out their phone to text, is that illegal? What about if my spouse is following a map on her phone for directions to her sisters (assume address was punched in PRIOR to car engine starting)? Would listening to this be considered illegal? Would looking down to see where the next turn is be illegal? Thanks for the details....

nuusmaan

Here's what the story above says:
Although HB 2318 bans handheld cellphone use while driving, drivers can use their phones at stoplights and when their vehicle is parked. Drivers are also allowed to use their phones in an emergency.

Azazel

Did you even read the article or just the headline? All your questions were answered in the article. As for GPS, there is a voice part of GPS so you don't have to look at it BUT if you were to have it in a holder where you could glance at it, that would be no different than a glance at your speedometer or mirrors. A glance, not a stare.

JustinP

Azazel, all answers weren't there before. Oh, and by writing comments like this the journalist many times updates the item to answer the questions. Cheers.

Otis C

Why does it always take a cop or a politicians friend or family member to die before laws like this are passed? Do us regular peasants not matter? Remember the crossover deaths on the 101 years ago? Cable barriers were too expensive until one of napalitonos friends were killed, then all of the sudden the money was found.

JustinP

Distracted driving laws already on the books.

Clyde

Yep guess people don't understand that it has to be spelled out for them, maybe they should go back to school to learn

Daddy

JustinP - 'Distracted driving' is too vague (like numerous Arizona laws) and is not specific. Arizona's laws need to be specific not vague gray areas. Arizona's numerous vague laws are why so many innocent people go to prison in Arizona and why many guilty people go free. Specific laws greatly reduce the numbers in both of these situations. Arizona needs to revamp its laws to be specific with narrow parameters that lead to "either the person did or didn't do...". Not vague wide open parameters which lead to "kinda did and kinda didn't" situations.

ObeyLaws

JustinPicposting - There is no "distracted driving" law on the books in Arizona. If you can cite an ARS Title 28 section that you believe specifically addresses distracted driving, I'd love to read it. https://www.azleg.gov/arsDetail/?title=28

JustinP

search under 'reckless driving' obey. You will see lawyers and prosecutors arguing terminology alot but that's what it boils down to. Not paying attention to the road will be just cause for most sane juries to convict. Don't play the high priced lawyer, play the jury. cheers

JustinP

Oh, and the ARS usually mentioned is 28-701. Here is part a) A. A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. A person shall control the speed of a vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any object, person, vehicle or other conveyance on, entering or adjacent to the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others. So, driving 1 mph with your head in a cellphone is illegal and a violation of the law.

Clyde

It's been the law

dancinghusker

Thank you, Governor Ducey!

JPC

It's about time. 95% of people can't multitask. Distracted drivers are the #1 cause of fatal accidents. Live with it!

Dean

Actually JPC drunks kill more people than distracted drivers. Of course drunks are distracted as well.

ObeyLaws

Still ironic to note that the jurisdiction in which Officer Townsend was killed (Salt River Indian Reservation) had a no texting law in effect at the time of his death... You're all fooling yourselves if you think this will accomplish anything other than serve as a "feel good" law.

Wearenotperfect

You are 100% correct! This will do nothing to stop it and why should it. DUI laws have been around for years and has it stopped drunk driving? Nope. The war on drugs has been going on for decades, has it stopped Americans from consuming them like candy? Nope. How about speed laws? I drive faster than I should sometimes, who doesn't! One more stupid law that punishes everyone for the actions of the very few. These laws continue to open the door for law enforcement to question every single action you perform in your vehicle such at adjust you radio volume, turning you head to check your blind spot and don't forget those humongous dashboard information screens that just about every new vehicle has now a days. This is what is known as Policing for Profit folks!

Dean

Wearenotperfect you are so correct. Besides this law was a waste of time and money to enact since there are already laws in effect to stop distracted driving as you mentioned.

Shredder

Agree.

Daddy

ObeyLaws - What a stupid comment. How stupid of you to actually write that and post it.

JustSaying

too bad that common sense must be legislated

nuusmaan

This article omits many important details. From Tucson.com (older piece):

And the penalties would have to conform with state law: A fine of between $75 and $149 for a first offense, with subsequent violations subjecting the motorist to fines up to $250.

Also, HB 2318 would not take effect until 2022, with police allowed to issue only warnings until then.

In the interim, though, cities and counties could continue to enforce their own local laws, or enact new ones that mirror HB 2318 and start writing tickets right away. Only the statewide law would remain unenforceable until 2022.

Thrill22

This is from the article "While the law goes into effect immediately, fines don’t kick in until January 2021".

nuusmaan

You're right- I pasted too much from the dated article. AZFamily has now updated this one to include pertinent information.

Clyde

You may not get a ticket for HB2318 until 2022 BUT you can still get a ticket for texting and driving, called distracted driving

Daddy

Clyde - No, it's called texting and driving not so-called 'distracted driving'.

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