Coco Co and Flagstaff impose varying cell bans while driving

In April, Coconino County supervisors voted to ban cell use by drivers, including talking and texting — with the perennial exclusion for hands free devices. It is a primary offense; and there’s some sort of six month grace period.

Somewhat confusingly, the City of Flagstaff council has passed a city texting ban (that is texting only, and mum on any other aspect of cell use) — the city is within Coconino County. “prohibits drivers and bicycle riders from texting, emailing or using an instant message program to send or read a message while the vehicle is in motion. Drivers and cyclists are allowed to text or email while stopped for a red light, waiting for a train to pass or pulled over on the side of the road.  The ban becomes law on Aug. 15, but the city is offering a six-month grace period” azdailysun.. The way it apparently works is the city (Flagstaff) has “opted out” of Coconino County’s ban and created their own, less stringent, ban — on texting only.

The State of Arizona has no specific restrictions on cell phone use, though not for the lack of trying.  Separately,  in the wake of a DPS officer’s death due to what appeared to be a truck driver distracted by his phone; the DPS has adopted a get-tough campaign on distracted driving of all types.

The City of Phoenix banned texting in 2007; although it is secondary. In 2012, the City of Tucson instituted a primary texting ban,

Update on Tucson texting ban enforcement

There was an interesting Daily Star article about the city of Tucson’s cell ban ordinance. The headline number for me was there are ~ 150,000/year traffic infractions of all kinds. And Tucson is a relatively small city (~ 1/2 million population):

  • 292,000 – civil and criminal traffic charges filed in city court April 2012-June 2014
  • 82 – traffic stops [for texting ban] since the ban took effect in April 2012
  • 50 – tickets issued [for texting ban]
  • 9 – of the tickets were for criminal traffic violations [not sure exactly what this means; perhaps they were collisions and were charged with something like 28-672?]
  • 31 – [texting ban] warnings given

The text of the article often conflates any/all distracted driving with cell distracted, e.g. referring to the DPS data released April 2014, “Ten of the crashes caused by distracted driving were fatal”; I imagine sticks in some people’s minds as there were 10 fatal cell-involved collisions, but that’s not the case.

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