In 2017, Tucson made it illegal to operate a phone while driving. This law, however, did not do much to change behavior. This is because the traffic violation was not a so-called “primary offense.” That means that police could not pull you over for simply using your phone. Instead, they had to observe some other traffic violation in order to initiate a traffic stop.
This has changed. Tucson City Council has now made operating a phone while driving a primary offense. If police see you using a cell phone, they can initiate a traffic stop and give you a citation that carries a fine of $50 - $250. As a primary offense, it also means police can initiate a stop for cell phone use and then investigate for other crimes such as DUI or possession of drugs. (Pima County and Oro Valley also have laws against using a cell phone while driving.)
How do you minimize your risk and maximize your safety? Use hands-free devices while driving in Tucson, Oro Valley, and Pima County. If your car does not already have a Bluetooth connection to your phone, consider getting a Bluetooth FM transmitter. These devices are available on Amazon for less than $20 and can connect your phone to your car’s stereo, allowing you to operate your device hands-free.
This law may seem minor or a mere inconvenience, but it in fact recognizes the serious dangers of texting while driving. Over 400,000 people a year are injured as the result of a driver using a cell phone while driving. In 2015, nearly 3,500 people were killed as a result of drivers distracted by cell phones. That is over 9 people every day dying due to cell phone use while driving. Put the phone down. It’s simply not worth the risk.
If you have been injured in an auto collision, contact The Law Office of Brian Chase for a free consultation.