Texting While Driving? Ariz. to Nail You for, Uh, Speeding

Using loophole, crackdown to begin in January

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 14, 2013 9:31 AM CST

(Newser) – Arizona hasn't outlawed driving while texting, but it's come up with a strategy to deal with those who do use their phones while on the road: Slap them with a speeding ticket, the Pheonix New-Times reports. The crackdown will begin in January, and if you're wondering how police will justify the act, look no further than state law. It requires drivers to not drive at a speed "greater than is reasonable and prudent" and as a Department of Public Safety rep puts it to the Arizona Daily Star: "Any speed is not reasonable when you're texting, because you're not fully in control of your driving."

Though a texting-while-driving ban has been proposed several times in Arizona since 2007, it hasn't yet made it into law. The Daily Star notes a DPS officer was killed by a distracted driver looking at racy photos on his phone in May, but the DPS says that's not what has finally spawned some change. "It's not just because we lost an officer. It's because we're losing people all across the state all the time," the rep says. The New-Times points out that in this case, when the department says "texting," it probably means any act involving looking at your cellphone while driving.

In this Sept. 20, 2011 file photo, a phone is held in a car in Brunswick, Maine.
In this Sept. 20, 2011 file photo, a phone is held in a car in Brunswick, Maine.   (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach, File)
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