Two House Bills Propose Statewide Text Ban

HB 2321, HB 2512 aim to address dangerous driving distraction

Phoenix, Ariz. Jan. 30, 2012. Text messaging while driving is one of the most dangerous distractions a motorist can engage in. In fact, drivers who text message are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or narrowly avoid one, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. That’s why AAA supports HB 2321 and HB 2512, which would make the practice illegal for all drivers on Arizona roadways.

“Texting while driving is one of the biggest public health issues on the road today, which is why AAA considers it to be the mother of all distractions,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “This legislation has the potential to save lives on Arizona roadways.”

A recent survey conducted by Behavior Research Center revealed that nearly eight out of 10 Arizona respondents support a texting while driving ban. In addition, when asked to rank the seriousness of certain driving behaviors on a ten-point scale, respondents ranked texting while driving at 9.2, just below the most seriously-ranked behavior, driving under the influence of alcohol.
“Given the overwhelming public support for banning this behavior, AAA urges legislators to represent their constituents by voting in favor of this legislation,” added Gorman.

Currently, 35 states and the District of Columbia have laws that address text messaging by all drivers. Other than the city of Phoenix, there are no laws that restrict motorists from texting while driving in Arizona. AAA is working to pass laws banning text messaging by drivers in all 50 states by 2013.

Sponsored by Rep. Vic Williams (R), HB 2321 is assigned to the House Transportation Committee as well as the House Judiciary Committee. Sponsored by Rep. Steve Urie (R), HB 2512, was also assigned to the House Transportation Committee, and passed out of the committee with a vote of 6 to 2 last week.

In 2011, a similar bill proposing a statewide ban on texting while driving was introduced by Sen. Al Melvin (R). The legislation cleared the Senate but stalled in the House of Representatives.

AAA will track the progress of HB 2321, HB 2512 and other transportation bills being considered during the 2012 Arizona legislature at az.aaa.com/news/legislativenews.htm.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and auto travel services more than 800,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Emergency Road Service responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on the streets and highways of the state as well as providing 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. In 2008, AAA was ranked the No. 1 “socially responsible” brand by Landor’s BrandAsset® Valuator.