As Hannah Mitchell reports for the East Valley Tribune, Arizona lawmakers
have voted not to add an amendment to a bill regarding texting while driving.
One lawmaker evidently felt that Arizonans don't really want more
legislation, when he said that reckless driving is already a crime, and
to get specific about
texting while driving would be "unnecessary."
But Mitchell quotes a police officer who sees the situation differently:
"Arizona doesn't have any laws that prohibit texting while driving.
Unfortunately, what happens in most cases is there's a collision then
somebody admits they were distracted." The officer also said that
many people get pulled over, based on an officer's suspicion that
the driver is under the influence of alcohol, and find out the driver
wasn't drunk but texting.
So, we have two forces at play here: (1) an Arizona legislature that seems,
at the moment, unable to make texting while driving an actual traffic
offense, which would allow police officers to pull people over and give
them citations beforethey cause an accident; and (2) the reality that
texting is itself a kind of behavior that leads to typical reckless driving,
i.e. speeding, drifting, running stop signs or stop lights, etc.
Since texting seems to be the actual cause of so many
car accidents, rather than the generic "reckless driving" that Senate President
Andy Biggs says is enough for us to make laws for - after all, there's
no shortage of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- then it might make sense to get past the thought that an actual texting
law is "unnecessary."
Legislature rejects texting while driving ban, but Valley law enforcement
concerns still present