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Tempe To Vote On Ordinance That Would Ban Texting While Driving

cell phone
(Photo by Kathy Ritchie - KJZZ)

Several Arizona towns and cities are considering bans on hand-held devices. Now Tempe is about to vote on a proposed ordinance that would make it a Class One misdemeanor, meaning a driver could be fined upwards of $500. 

Spearheading the effort is council member Kolby Granville. Granville has been working on the proposed ordinance for the past several months, and tonight the council will take a vote. He says there should be a state-wide ban in place, but the Arizona legislature has yet to pass anything that specifically prohibits texting while driving.

"I’m not going to put people at risk because the state is unwilling to act," Granville said. "Let me give you a quick statistic. So, the number one killer among young divers is distracted driving, when you are driving distracted you are six times more likely to be in an accident than when you are driving legally drunk." 

Granville obtained that figure from the National Traffic Safety Administration.

The council member isn’t the only local lawmaker trying to push for a ban on hand-held devices. The city councils of Yuma and Kingman are in the process of considering similar measures. And last year, Coconino County banned texting and talking on a cell phone unless using a hands-free device.

Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.