New Distracted Driving Law in Effect This Weekend in Tempe
Tempe is launching a new ordinance Saturday to help keep drivers safe. Effective October 24, drivers who are seen swerving or driving erratically while holding a phone could get pulled over. Fines for a first offense is $100, a second violation is $250, and any fine thereafter within a two year period will cost drivers $500.
Although drivers should always be driving safely, officers are giving drivers a 90-day educational period. This means through January 21, 2016, officers will only provide warnings about the new law instead of fines. However, tickets will be given starting January 22, 2016.
Drivers should keep in mind this is not just a law against cellphones. This is a law against distracted driving. That means whether you are holding a cellphone, digital camera, iPod, laptop, etc… you could get a ticket.
Across the nation, 46 states have banned texting for drivers, while 14 states and Washington, D.C. prohibits drivers from talking on the phone. In Arizona, Tempe’s not the first city to pass a law to curb driving and cellphone use. Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff all have laws against texting while driving. The problem is those laws are difficult to enforce because drivers can claim they were using their phone for other things.
Tempe’s law is a bit stricter than other states in this regard, but the hope is that it will help minimize accidents associated with distracted driving. After all, 26-percent of driving fatalities are associated with distracted driving – the third leading cause behind alcohol (30.8 percent) and speeding (30 percent).
Whether you’re in Tempe or any other Arizona city, it’s best to keep all distractions away and keep your eyes on the road. It’s not just for your safety; it’s for the safety of those around you, as well.
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