The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that every day, an estimated nine people in the United States are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. It can take less than just a few seconds of someone taking their eyes off of the road to irreversibly change lives.
AZ Central reported on their website that as of Thursday, April 18th, the Arizona Senate passed a ban on the use of any handheld electronic devices, including cellphones while behind the wheel.
Against the objections of some Republicans within the legislature, the bill was brought to the floor for a vote by Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers. The bill passed on a 44 -16 vote. Governor Doug Ducey has said he will sign it into law.
Lawmakers have been trying for several years to pass the ban on cellphones and other devices being used behind the wheel. Since 2007, it has been met with staunch opposition. Opponents say that the law goes too far and limits personal liberties by imposing such a strict ban.
A 10-year-old study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute shows that distracted drivers are an estimated 23 times more likely to get into an accident than drivers who did not engage in such behavior. Arizona is now the 48th state in the US to ban the use of cellphones and other electronic devices by drivers.
The law is due to go into full effect on January 1, 2021. After that time, law enforcement officers could consider a violation as a primary offense and first-time offenders would face a fine of $75 to $149. Each consecutive violation after the first offense would result in a fine ranging from $150 to $250.