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Poll shows strong support for Arizona bill banning texting while driving

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – A new poll shows overwhelming support for an Arizona bill that would prohibit texting while driving statewide.

A whopping 86 percent of likely voters said they supported SB 1165, which would make it illegal for drivers to manually operate electronic devices except under certain circumstances.

The poll was conducted over three days last week by HighGround Inc. and funded by AAA Arizona and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

“In my experience, very few issues can achieve this level of universal support,” Paul Bentz, HighGround senior vice president of research and strategy, said in a Tuesday press release.

“When we test proposals for the ballot, for example, we recommend that the issue secure support in the mid-60 percent range to have a chance of success in an election.”

The release said 47 states, as well as 21 Arizona jurisdictions (including the cities of Phoenix, Tempe, Surprise and Glendale), have restrictions on cellphone use while driving.

“Voters from across the state agree that it is time that we take a statewide approach to this issue and ensure that everyone operates under the same rules,” AAA Arizona spokeswoman Michelle Donati said in the release.

“Legislators should rest assured that this is something their constituents overwhelmingly support.”

The poll found similar support across party lines, with 84 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats expressing approval.

Gov. Doug Ducey has said would sign off on a texting law he deems properly constructed.

If the bill becomes law, violators would be subject to fines between $75 and $149 per first offense and $150 and $250 for each subsequent offense.

The Senate Committee on Transportation and Public Safety is scheduled to hear the bill, which was introduced last month by Republican Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, on Wednesday.

A less restrictive bill that would ban typing while driving has been introduced the Arizona House.

Republican Rep. John Kavanagh told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos he introduced HB 2069 as a backup plan and would prefer to see the more strict Senate bill advance.

Support for some kind of cellphone ban has been on the rise since a Salt River Police officer was struck and killed in January by a man who said he was texting at the time of the accident.

Maricopa County cities El Mirage, Fountain Hills, Glendale, Phoenix, Surprise and Tempe are among the state’s entities with cellphone laws on the books.

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