TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS5) - Texting and driving laws just got a whole lot stricter in Tempe.

Tempe City Council unanimously approved a harsher law banning drivers from using handheld devices on Thursday night.

Now, officers can stop Tempe drivers if they see them holding a mobile device behind the wheel while talking into it or typing.

[RELATED: Texting and driving ordinance goes into effect for Glendale next month]

You can use your device if you're using it hands-free, if you're stopped at a red light or if you're parked on the side of the road.

It's a little unclear if a driver can touch their device when it's mounted or if it's left on their lap.

"It’s going to be subject to interpretation," said Fennemore Craig attorney, Marc Lamber. "The language of the statute speaks to manually operating the phone. Manually would mean using your hands... it also references typing, so to me that would be covered by the ordinance, and it would be banned...if it’s just one swipe, and you’re really doing that, that’s an exception."

Cities are passing their own laws about texting and driving since Arizona still doesn't have a common statewide ban.

[RELATED: Ducey supporting statewide texting and driving ban]

"If the state law does take effect, it won’t be until 2021, so that’s two more years. So we wanted to adopt what was the best, most commonsense law, and then when the state adopts theirs, we’ll align our law to their law," said Tempe's Vice Mayor, Lauren Kuby.


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


Recommended for you

(3) comments


Can I use my laptop or tablet instead? How about a CB radio? Should we ban the use of the AM/FM radio, cd player, satellite radios? Wait a minute! If those are banned then how will the police do anything? They talk on the radio and use their laptops while driving around all the time. What it really comes down to is if you are distracted, weaving and not paying attention. I drive over 35,000 miles a year. Have for the past 20 years. Use my cell phone all the time. No accidents.


" Use my cell phone all the time. No accidents." That is until you kill someone.


What is the fine for getting caught? The most important detail of the entire story.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.