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State Sen. Kate Brophy McGee introduces new distracted driving bill

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PHOENIX — Arizona Sen. Kate Brophy McGee introduced a bill Wednesday that would require any devices used behind the wheel to be hands-free.

The bill, SB 1165, would make the use of a cell phone while driving a primary offense, meaning that a police officer could pull a driver over for that violation alone.

McGee will hold a press conference Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Arizona State Capitol to promote the bill with other legislators, a police official and family members of Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend, who was struck and killed by a distracted driver this month.

In the wake of his death, calls for a statewide ban on texting and driving have grown louder.

A media advisory for the press conferece said signing the bill into law “will finally get drivers statewide to put down their phones while driving.”

“This is hands-free legislation, meaning once you pull out of the driveway, you won’t be allowed to grab your phone until you reach your destination,” the advisory said.

McGee’s bill comes after state Rep. John Kavanagh introduced HB 2069, which would ban typing while driving.

He told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Tuesday that he would support a bill going further than that.

He said he’s introduced similar legislation before, but it never made it through the Legislature.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey told Mac & Gaydos on Tuesday that he would sign off on a statewide texting law if it’s “properly constructed.”

Several communities throughout Arizona have implemented a variety of distracted driver restrictions, including a texting while driving ban that Glendale City Council passed this month, but nothing has made it through on the state level.

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