Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions May 26, 2016

11/5/2013 3:06:00 PM
State needs to wise up on texting drivers

Arizona is among a shrinking number of states that have no legal bans on texting while driving. Bills have come to the Legislature in the past few years only to be shot down. Some lawmakers categorize it with helmet-wearing while motorcycling - a matter of choice and freedom.

Others, more legitimately, point to the laws against reckless driving already on the books and say that is all that is needed to crack down on people who insist on texting and Tweeting behind the wheel. And, based on a recent ruling by the Court of Appeals, the fact that a driver was texting before being involved in an accident can be used against him during trial.

But after the May death of a DPS officer, killed by a truck driver who was allegedly looking at the Internet on his cell phone, pressure has increased on the Legislature to take a stand. Clearly, current laws are not enough. Granted, Jorge Espinoza was not texting at the time he plowed into three police cars and two fire trucks, but he has become a poster boy of distracted driving.

The cities of Phoenix and Tucson have laws against texting while driving, just as many companies ban the practice among their employees. Some states ban "new" drivers and bus drivers from texting; other ban everyone from doing so. Some ban any use of a cell phone while driving. Across the United States, the median fine is $100. Up in Alaska, it is a whopping $10,000.

The fact is, in Arizona, more and more people want to join the rational folks and see a state law banning drivers from texting. As long as legislators view the issue as free-choice akin to requiring motorcycle helmets, that is not going to happen.

With current reckless-driving laws not making a dent in the epidemic of people speeding down the interstate highways while tapping out messages, it may be time for a referendum. If Arizonans have come to feel strongly on this issue, they may be able to get state lawmakers to listen to them instead of just each other.

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Police soon will have one more reason to pull you over (4750 views)

•   What's hot in Verde Valley job market? (2956 views)

•   Cornville man charged with child molestation seeks plea (2875 views)

•   Marana man suffers skull injury, brain bleed following ATV crash (2737 views)

•   Motorcycle rider suffers head injuries in crash (2195 views)

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013
Article comment by: Driving Ms Crazy

Good points, Carl.

Why put such a potentially dangerous technology as GPS screens in vehicles?

Do you think someday soon the computers in today's vehicles will be broadcasting your driving habits to the nearest smart meter reception point, to be added to the database of your household schedules?

(Of course, cell phones already provide a cruder form of that information, but the powers that be would clearly like a bit more detail.)

Posted: Friday, November 8, 2013
Article comment by: Carl Nye

I agree it's a sad situation when there is an accident caused by a distracted driver. There are so many possible distractions. Can we expect the law to be expanded and expanded to cover each one? The one that bothers me the most is right in your face... the computer GPS screen on the dashboard of modern cars. How can you drive in busy traffic and read a map on your dash at the same time?

Posted: Friday, November 8, 2013
Article comment by: itsy bitsy Spider

Why not leave this dangerous practice up to the judges and the insurance companies?

Patrol officers shouldn't be required to look for texters or given the option to stop someone just because they look like a texter. What's next? Driving with children?

A clause in your auto insurance that says damages will not be paid if the insured was texting while driving would be much more effective than another redundant law.

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: Let's also use common sense

While I completely agree with the need to address the problem of distracted driving for any reason, an all-out ban of cellphone use seems like an overreaction.

Many of us use bluetooth-enabled and voice actuated cellphones that are completely hand free. You can make or receive a call without ever taking your eyes off the road. Doing so is actually less distracting than, say, eating an apple while driving.

Let's hope our legislators use common sense and understand that not all cellphone use is a problem.

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Article comment by: Cathy Pardun

I whole-heartedly agree with Mr. McKnight, and firmly believe the fine should be, as Alaska's fine is, a "whopping $10,000"! Maybe if the fine is large enough people will be more inclined to follow the law, since they haven't got any common sense ! I have ridden with a 'texting driver' who nearly killed us while being distracted, and I have also seen people almost run into others while messing with their phones. I am terrified that one of my grandchildren wil be the guilty party in one of these horrific messes caused by a stupid so-called "important" message. Nothing is so important it cannot wait till it is safe for you to answer...in a parking lot, or off the road with the car parked! That text may very well be the last thing in someone elses life...

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Article comment by: Really, D. Alan McKnight?

There's a law against driving drunk in all 50 states. It doesn't seem to prevent head on collisions while under the influence.

If reckless driving covers all instances an officer can observe, why get picky?

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Confused

The woman in the picture is texting about the dangers of smart meters.

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Article comment by: D. Alan McKnight

"A matter of choice and freedom"???? How about a matter of Life or Death? Here's how I see this. If these certain members of the State Legislature have such a lackadaisical attitude about Texting While Driving, then they won't mind being included in the wrongful death lawsuits levied by the victims or their families. Texting While Driving should be illegal in all 50 states, period.

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, verdenews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved