PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Calls for a statewide ban on texting while driving is picking up momentum at the state Capitol following the death this week of a police officer.

On Friday, House Speaker-elect Rusty Bowers and Senate President-elect Karen Fann both voiced their support for legislation that cracks down on distracted driving.

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

Their comments mark a major shift at the state Capitol after 12 years of failed efforts to prohibit drivers from texting from behind the wheel.

The death this week of Salt River Tribal police officer Clayton Townsend appears to have triggered the change in attitude.

Townsend was hit and killed Tuesday by a driver who told authorities he was texting at the time.

"When you’re that involved in a text that you can cross two lanes of traffic and kill somebody, I know he didn't mean to, but we gotta do something about this," Bowers said Friday.

Gov. Doug Ducey said earlier this week that he would also support a statewide ban.

Last year, the governor signed legislation that prohibits teens from driving and texting.

Arizona remains one of three states in the country that doesn't have a statewide ban.


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Political Editor

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(4) comments


This was proposed before but the Republicans shot it down. They didn't want it impacting the revenues generated for the mobile phone providers that contribute to their campaigns. Now a cop is dead and they seem to be more amenable. Bravo.


"12 years of failed efforts" for a common sense law? That sounds like Arizona.


So it takes a cop getting killed to activate our elected officials? That being said it is already illegal to text while driving in every state. It is called distracted driving laws that have been on the books at least since I started driving 60 years ago. This includes combing your hair, shaving, putting on makeup, reading, etc. The problem is that these laws are not enforced so all of a sudden people start raising heck for ONE item included in the laws.


They aren't enforced because they are vague. Only become an issue AFTER an accident. I say if there is an accident, the police MUST check your records to see if you were texting or otherwise surfing. Anyone found to be using their device while driving is automatically 50% responsible for any accident.

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