Texting while driving tickets not an issue in Tucson

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Today marks one year since the implementation of the texting while driving ban in Tucson, and recent statistics show that not many people are being pulled over for the offense.

"I see people doing it, I've done it.  My kids yell at me for doing it, so, yeah, I'm trying really hard not to," Tucson driver Sandi Shivel said.

"I actually haven't.  That's my mom's one big thing is not texting and driving, so, I try to respect that because she did give me a car," U of A senior Chloe Broenen said.

Ordinance 10966 is based off the distracted driving law that was passed in Phoenix in 2007, the first law of its kind in Arizona to fine drivers who are caught texting, emailing or instant messaging while driving.

Sergeant Chris Widmer with the Tucson Police Department said 26 moving violations have been given in the past year. Each of those drivers have had to pay a $100 fine.

"You're definitely going to see us continue the enforcement.  We are looking for it.  It's just difficult to find and, second, it's difficult to prove.  But, we are successful to some degree and we are going to continue," Sgt. Widmer said.

The law also states that the fine increases to $250 if an accident occurs as a result of a driver using a cell phone. Widmer says there have been four reported traffic collisions, and the drivers were fined.

Tucson council members and the mayor unanimously passed the ordinance on Feb. 23, 2012, and it went into effect on April 1.

"I didn't have a target.  This is more of an educational thing, quite frankly.  And so, if the message got out to people to stop doing it, you know, that's a good thing," said Ward 6 Tucson City Council member Steve Kozachik, who introduced the ban to the council.

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