Thursday, April 18, 2019

House Democrats Unanimously Support Texting and Driving Ban

PHOENIX – Saying it was a vote to make Arizona a safer place to live, House Democrats voted unanimously Thursday to ban texting and driving in the state. Their votes helped propel House Bill 2318 to the Governor's desk with a final read vote of 44-16.

The bill bans texting while driving and makes it a primary offense. That was a request of family members who have lost loved ones in accidents involving drivers using cell phones, including the family of Officer Clayton Townsend of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Police Department, who was killed on January 8.

“It has taken almost a decade of efforts from numerous individuals to reach today, Thursday April 18th – a day in which the Arizona State Legislature acts upon this epidemic that haunts the roads of the state of Arizona," said Rep. César Chávez, D-Phoenix, who sponsored a texting ban as well this year. “To the Townsend Family – I know that there are no words and no actions this body can take to heal the loss of Officer Clayton Townsend. But I do thank you for letting us have him through his service and the work that you have all done in Clayton’s name that are being engraved in the walls of this institution.”

House Democrats opposed a Republican effort to confuse the issue with a second, overly broad ban on "distracted driving" that will increase racial profiling and other unintended consequences. Senate Bill 1141 passed along party lines with all Democrats voting no.

Several Democratic members applauded the efforts over the past decade to pass the ban, including multiple bills sponsored by former Senator Steve Farley of Tucson.


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