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Arizona DPS to give 7,500 flyers about new law to distracted drivers

(Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers will soon begin handing out flyers to those pulled over in violation of the state’s new distracted driving law.

“We’ll be handing out these two-sided slips here, and basically it’s a breakdown of the hands-free law that went into effect April 22,” Trooper Christopher Nelson told KTAR News. 

“It talks about what’s prohibited behavior per the law, which … would be holding a phone to make or answer a call, reading or sending text messages, essentially just holding or supporting a device with any portion of your body.”

Officers can pull over drivers in violation of the law but they can only issue warnings until January 2021. Nelson said the department has already given more than 1,900 of these warnings since April.

The department has printed about 7,500 flyers so far. They explain that devices may still be used for GPS navigation, emergency calls or hands-free calls.

DPS Director Col. Frank Milstead told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes Show last month that the flyers were in development after a listener told the show about a confusing ticket he had received.

“We will be handing out pamphlets … to violators that we stop over the next 18 months so they can be better educated on the law,” Milstead said on the show.

In 2021, fines of $75 to $149 will be issued for first offenses and $150 to $250 for subsequent violations.

Efforts to pass a distracted driving ban were fueled by the death of Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend in January.

Townsend was struck during a traffic stop on Loop 101 in Scottsdale by a driver who police said admitted to using his phone while driving.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.

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