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Why did a Mesa man get a speeding ticket for driving 65 in a 65 zone?

(Facebook Photo/Arizona State Troopers Association)

PHOENIX – A Mesa man said a state trooper wrote him a speeding ticket on a Valley freeway this week even though he was going the limit.

The reason? He was talking on his cellphone.

Bill, who didn’t want to use his last name, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes Show on Friday that the trooper also gave him a written warning under the state’s new cellphone ban.

The law, which passed last month, doesn’t take effect until January 2021, when violators will be subject to fines of $75 to $149 for first offenses and $150 to $250 for subsequent offenses.

Until then, officers can issue warnings for cellphone use while driving. The new statute doesn’t mention vehicle speed.

Bill provided KTAR News with a copy of the warning and ticket, which was written Monday on Loop 202 and says he was driving 65 mph in a 65 zone. The violation is listed as “speed/reasonable prudent.”

Bill acknowledged that he was talking on his cellphone when pulled over. The trooper explained that, under the new law, he couldn’t have the phone in his hand while driving.

The trooper, identified on the ticket as F. Vacca, then told Bill he was getting a warning and a speeding ticket.

“He goes, ‘Well, the reason why you’re getting it, the speed limit when you have your phone in your hand is zero miles per hour,’” Bill said of the conversation.

“So he gave me a warning ticket for the cellphone and then he gave me a speeding ticket because I was holding my phone.”

When asked if the speed limit should have been zero in that scenario, DPS Director Frank Milstead told Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes, “No, I don’t think it is.”

He said if a mistake was made, it should be rectified without Bill having to go to court. The ticket said Bill had to appear in court by June 5.

Following Milstead’s interview with Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes, the DPS director took to Twitter to update the public on Bill’s ticket, noting the trooper wrote the speeding ticket in error and it was dismissed.

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