Oro Valley hands-free enforcement starts Sep. 1 - Tucson News Now

Oro Valley hands-free enforcement starts Sep. 1

(Source: Town of Oro Valley) (Source: Town of Oro Valley)
ORO VALLEY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Enforcement started Friday, Sep. 1 for a hands-free ordinance that went into effect in Oro Valley on Jan. 6.

The ordinance "prohibits drivers from holding their electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on a public road, regardless of being stopped at a light or stop sign."  There are exceptions to the ordinance, like calling 911 or speaking to a hospital or physician.  

Drivers are encouraged to use a Bluetooth device that has either already been installed in their vehicle, or purchased afterward and installed. Other devices that leave drivers hands-free are cell phone mounts and/or a device speaker that functions while the person is driving.

"It's not going to be a situation where we're looking for people with phones in their hands necessarily," said OVPD Lt. Curtiss Hicks. "We're looking for the driver behavior that points out that somebody may be distracted."

According to the ordinance, single finger "touch and swipe" is allowed to activate and deactivate phone functions so long as the device is not in the driver's hand. 

"When we see somebody weaving in and out of their lane, somebody who's driving really slow in traffic because they're not focused on their driving behavior ... those are the types of things that can cause bicyclists and pedestrians to be at higher risk," said Hicks.

OVPD waited to enforce the law in order to educate drivers on the new ordinance.

They started giving out citations Sep. 1.

The first offense is $50. The second one is $100 to $200. If you cause a crash because you're not following the rules, a fine could cost you $250.

Oro Valley Police Department began a campaign in January to educate drivers on the new ordinance. During the campaign motorcycle and patrol officers conducted high visibility traffic stops on drivers seen holding a cell phone or mobile electronic device like a GPS or gaming device.

During the campaign drivers were warned about the violation and received an educational pamphlet describing the provision of the new ordinance. OVPD also held several outreach events to educate the public.  

To learn more about the "hands-free" ordinance CLICK HERE

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