YAVAPAI COUNTY, AZ (3TV/CBS5) - Yavapai County became the third county to approve an ordinance banning your cell phone behind the wheel. The Board of Supervisors Vice-Chair said they tried to convince the state legislature to do the same unsuccessfully, so they're working to convince other counties to follow their lead.
Arizona and Montana are the only states that don't have laws addressing cell phone use while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
It's been two years since we've spoken with firefighter Jonathan Hall about Tom's Law, - named after his dad Tom Hall. Tom died after a woman reaching for her phone, crashed into him when he was on his motorcycle without a helmet.
"When we have an action that we do that can potentially affect other people, that's when the government needs to step in," Hall said.
Statewide, Hall said the texting ban push-back from lawmakers has been about government overreach.
"It's not overreach when you can get on your cell phone to send a text message and run over my dad," Hall said.
Though Yavapai County's banning of cell phone use while driving is a step, Hall said the law shouldn't depend on geography.
"It shouldn't be required for people to know what mile marker it is that changes their duty in their car," Hall said.
"A distracted motorist looked down at his phone to see who was calling, and by the time he looked up I was being launched through the air at 45 miles an hour," said Brendan Lyons. In that 2013 crash, he suffered broken vertebra, a fractured pelvis, and a traumatic brain injury, ended his firefighting career. He started a nonprofit called Look! Save a Life.
"Fifteen total jurisdictions throughout or state are trying to mitigate distracted driving when our state legislature still fails to adopt this," Lyons said.
“They just don’t seem to want to take this on, for whatever political reason there is," said Randy Garrison, the Vice-Chair of the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, who is a Republican. He said the board wanted to take action, even if his GOP colleagues at the capitol don't.
"We got the same comments, you know, government needs to stay out of your life, needs to quit telling you how to do and what to do and how far they reach into what you do," Garrison said. "But at the end of the day, this is a serious issue and it's causing a lot of death and destruction.”
Garrison said he would try to sway other counties to follow their lead at the summit for the County Supervisors Association of Arizona.
The Oro Valley Police Chief said, since adopting their hand-free ordinance in January of 2017, they haven't had a fatal crash. While he said they need more data to do a detailed analysis, he feels that it's working.