Few drivers cited since texting and driving ban began in Pima Co - Tucson News Now

Few drivers cited since texting and driving ban began in Pima County

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It's been a little more than two months since the Pima County Sheriff's Department started enforcing the distracting driving ban.

[READ: Texting and driving ban officially begins in Pima County]

Drivers who are caught texting and driving in Pima County now face a $100 ticket.

Yet since the ban was enforced on July 18, only six people have actually been have been given a citation. 

Seven warnings have been administered. 

“People that are driving distracted almost mimic impaired drivers. They’ll swerve, they’ll weave…they are driving too slow or too fast. There have been times where it really looks like a drunk driver,” said Deputy Ryan Roher with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

Roher admits it’s hard to be 100 percent certain that a driver was distracted by his or her phone behind the wheel.

Often times, deputies will follow a driver to make sure they see them looking down at their phone while moving.

Roher said tinted windows in Tucson make it that much harder for his deputies to do their job.

The ordinance does not apply to vehicles that are stopped.

“I’ve had people pull up behind me. I will watch their head tilt down, I’ll watch the signal light turn green and they will start to proceed briefly while they are still on their phone and then they put it down and focus,” Roher said.

As long as drivers put the phone down when the light turns green, they are in the clear.

People are still allowed to use their phone while driving to make phone calls as well.

Right now, PCSD has more than a dozen deputies who patrol the roads looking for drivers distracted behind the wheel.

In the meantime, the number of citations handed out by the Tucson Police Department for texting while driving is also low.

The city of Tucson adopted their distracted driving ordinance in 2012.

Here are the number of citations given out by the Tucson Police Department:

  • 2012: 14 citations, 5 written warnings
  • 2013: 23 citations, 14 written warnings
  • 2014: 32 citations, 24 written warnings
  • 2015: 29 citations, 19 written warnings
  • 2016: 23 citations, 15 written warnings

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