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."