Governor Ducey Signs Bill Banning Texting While Driving

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today, joined by members of the Arizona Legislature, law enforcement personnel and advocates of safe driving, signed legislation to prohibit texting while driving in Arizona. The legislation, HB 2318, bans the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving a vehicle.

“Too many lives have been lost because of texting and driving,” said Governor Ducey. “Too many families have needlessly grieved the loss of a loved one due to a preventable tragedy. I called on legislators to provide a solution that will save lives — and I am grateful for their efforts to do just that. This legislation takes important, clear and common sense steps to prevent texting and driving. I thank everyone who worked to get this legislation across the finish line and especially the Townsend family for their courage and advocacy.”

“Today Arizona takes a critical step toward making our roads safer,” said Senator Kate Brophy McGee. “Distracted driving is a public health crisis. With this reform, Arizona is ensuring drivers stay focused on the road — not their phones — helping prevent countless tragedies from happening in the future. Thank you to my colleagues in the Arizona Legislature, both in the House and Senate, for moving this important measure forward. And my thanks to Governor Ducey for making this reform a priority.”

“Distracted driving has to stop,” said Toni Townsend, mother of fallen Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend. “Although we feel the pain everyday of losing Clayton, we hope that this much-needed reform can save the lives of countless others moving forward. I want to express my gratitude to Governor Ducey and to members of the Arizona Legislature for putting this ban on texting while driving on the books.”

In January of 2019, Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend died in the line of duty after being struck by a vehicle driven by a distracted driver. Following Officer Townsend’s passing, the Townsend family joined many other families in becoming strong advocates for a ban on texting while driving.

States implementing hands-free laws have experienced 16 percent reductions in fatalities within the first two years. Studies also show that texting while driving increases the likelihood of a crash or near-crash by 23 times.

The new law takes effect immediately but penalties won’t take effect until January 1, 2021. The law makes texting a primary offense, which allows officers to pull over drivers for texting and driving. The new statewide ban replaces 26 different local ordinances.

Brendon Lyons, executive director of ‘Look! Save a Life has been a long-time advocate of the new state law. In an email statement, Lyons said, “To say that I’m excited is an understatement. I express my deepest gratitude to all who’ve ever supported this policy at the state or local level! Change only comes, when a network of collective voices, unify to positively impact our communities for a greater good.”

Until Ducey signed the bill into law today, Arizona was one of only three states that did not have a state law regarding cell-phone use while driving.

For more information on HB 2318, click HERE.