Pima County may tighten its texting ban, align it with Oro Valle - Tucson News Now

Pima County may tighten its texting ban, align it with Oro Valley's law

As of today, there's a hands-free law in Tucson. Pima Co. could tighten its law tomorrow. (Source: Tucson News Now) As of today, there's a hands-free law in Tucson. Pima Co. could tighten its law tomorrow. (Source: Tucson News Now)
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    The new ordinance takes effect in Tucson on May 1 (Source: Tucson News Now).The new ordinance takes effect in Tucson on May 1 (Source: Tucson News Now).

    Beginning on May 1 it will be illegal to drive with your cell phone in hand in Tucson. Recent numbers show in 2015, 3,477 people were killed in the U.S. in crashes involving distracted drivers.

    Beginning on May 1 it will be illegal to drive with your cell phone in hand in Tucson. Recent numbers show in 2015, 3,477 people were killed in the U.S. in crashes involving distracted drivers.

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Three different parts of the Tucson area have three different laws against holding a phone or texting while driving, while there is no statewide ban.

Tucson's hands-free law went into effect Monday, May 1.

A tougher hands-free law in Oro Valley is already in place and a texting while driving ban in Pima County might get tougher.

In addition to all of this, Arizona just approved a texting while driving ban for young drivers that takes effect next year.

All of these laws are different, and that may be confusing.

As we drive around, we can't always tell when we've crossed from one jurisdiction into another, for instance, from Tucson into Pima County.

Some are hoping that confusion is enough to get people to pay attention to the road.

"If the state's not going to do it, then our local governments have to step up and do something, and, yes, it does become a hodgepodge, but it's better than nothing," said Tucson bicyclist and Chairperson of the Tucson Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee, David Bachman-Williams.    

"If it does cut down on accidents, and if it is a safety feature, then I'm for that," said Tucson driver Erika Soderman. 

"I'm for safety, definitely. I think there are probably a lot of distracted drivers out here doing other things and if you add texting into the mix, it could really create a really unsafe situation. So I'm for the measures," said Tucson driver, Katie Wales.

We have a new Tucson law that makes violating the hands-free ordinance a secondary offense. So drivers can be cited for it only if they have committed a separate traffic violation first.

Tuesday, May 2, Pima County will consider tightening its hands-free ordinance which now makes it a primary offense to text and drive.

However, current county law allows hand-held "voice communications."  

"I'd rather have everybody thinking that they should not be using their hand-held devices when they drive, whether it's legal or whether it's not," said Pima County Democratic Supervisor Richard Elias of District 5.

Tucson city leaders say they'll take a look at their law in a few months... and decide whether to make the texting ban a primary offense.

For more on Tucson's hands-free ordinance fines click HERE.

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