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Tempe Bans Driver Cellphone Use

Tempe police can now stop anyone holding a cellphone while driving.

The City Council voted unanimously to enact the cellphone ban at a meeting Thursday.

“The facts are that texting causes accidents, including deaths,” said Councilwoman Jennifer Adams. “Anything we can do as public servants to prevent deaths is something that I’m going to support.”

The ban takes effect immediately.

For the first 30 days, officers will issue warnings. After that, a first offense will result in a $100 fine, a second offense a $250 fine and a $500 fine for subsequent offenses within two years.

Previously, Tempe officers could pull people over if a driver using a phone posed “articulable danger” to other people.

The ban does make allowances for people using their cell phones while parked or stopped. It also doesn’t apply to emergency responders or a driver reporting an emergency.

Several Phoenix-area cities also ban talking on a phone or texting while driving.

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Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.