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Cellphone ban while driving one signature away from law

The Arizona House of Representatives passed SB 1165/HB 2318 today 44-16 and sent it to the Governor for his signature. The bill prohibits the use of a cell phone while driving in Arizona.

"This is a great day for the people of our state," said bill sponsor Senator Kate Brophy McGee. "We have a public health crisis, and this law will go a long way to solving it. We must get drivers' eyes back on the road and their hands back on the steering wheel instead of their phone."

Arizona will become the 48th state with a texting or handheld cellphone ban. States that have passed hands-free legislation have seen a 16% reduction in motor vehicle fatalities. Law enforcement agencies are strongly behind the bill.

"This isn't about writing a lot of tickets. This is about saving lives," said Oro Valley Police Chief Daniel Sharp. "It's a quality of life issue. People should be able to run their errands without the fear of someone running into them because they have a phone in their hand."

Because it is a statewide ban, it brings consistency to what is now a patchwork of ordinances. 27 cities and towns have some form of a law related to cell phone use while driving. SB 1165/HB 2318 allows drivers to know what the rules are, no matter where they travel.

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