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Arizona Senate passes statewide texting and driving ban

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Senate passed a bill Monday by a vote of 20-10 that would ban texting while driving statewide.

All 13 Democrats supported Senate Bill 1165, while 10 of the 17 Republicans voted against it.

The bill bans any driver from using, or even just holding, a phone or other electronic device while in motion.

This includes texting, calling, and watching and recording videos, although there are exceptions for hands-free devices, like in-vehicle navigation systems.

If signed, the law would not go into effect until January 2021, meaning police could only issue warnings and not citations until then.

In 2021, drivers breaking the rule could be fined between $75 and $149 for a first violation and between $150 and $250 for each following violation.

Arizona Sen. Kate Brophy McGee introduced the bill in late January following the death of Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend.

Townsend was struck by a car while conducting a traffic stop on Loop 101.

The driver admitted that he was texting and driving when the crash occurred.

Tempe, Glendale, Fountain Hills, Phoenix, Surprise and El Mirage all have some form of law against drivers using cellphones or other handheld devices.

The bill must be now be passed by the state House and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey to become law.

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