Distracted Driving Bans Stall at Legislature, Finish First in AAA Survey

New findings reveal Arizonans’ traffic safety concerns

Phoenix, March 27, 2013. As the 2013 legislative session begins to wind down, Arizona remains one of five states that have no form of a distracted driving law in place. A handful of bills that address distracted driving – including SB 1241, a wireless ban for teen drivers – have all stalled in either the House or Senate despite overwhelming public support.

“Motorists believe distracted driving is a much bigger problem today than it was three years ago,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “Given the high level of public support for this issue, it’s disappointing that Arizona legislators refuse to take steps toward making Arizona roads safer.”

AAA conducts an annual survey to measure its members’ opinions about public affairs issues. Among Arizona members, this year’s survey revealed:

  • More than nine in 10 (92 percent) of AAA members support a statewide ban on texting for all drivers. This session, SB 1218 proposed a statewide ban on text messaging while driving.
  • 86 percent of AAA members support a wireless communication device ban for all new drivers during the first six months of having his or her license, and 85 percent support this restriction for the first year of teen driver licensure. This session, SB 1241 proposed a wireless communication ban for new drivers during the permit phase and first six months of unsupervised driving.
  • Nearly three out of four (72 percent) of AAA members support a ban on the use of all hand-held and hands-free cell phones while driving except for in emergency situations.

“AAA research shows that 82 percent of teen drivers have cell phones and readily admit to using them behind the wheel, presenting a clear safety hazard” Gorman said. “How many more lives need to be lost before our leaders address this issue on a statewide level?”

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. As a leader in driver safety, AAA focused its efforts this session on SB1241, a bill that proposed a wireless device ban during the permit and first six months of unsupervised driving, except during emergency situations, for new teen drivers. While AAA applauds Sen. Melvin for his leadership on this issue, the bill has stalled in the Senate. The club urges constituents to contact their legislators to make their voices heard and help get these life-saving laws passed.

As an advocate for the safety and security for the motoring public, AAA monitors automotive-, insurance-, traffic safety-, transportation- and travel-related bills at the Arizona legislature. For more information, visit AAA’s Legislative Action Center.  

AAA’s Public Affairs survey was mailed to 2,500 randomly selected AAA Arizona members. Since 1989, AAA has conducted an annual survey to measure its members’ opinions about public affairs issues.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.