Pima County hands-free cellphone law goes into effect June 1 | Local news | tucson.com

A Pima County law that prohibits motorists from using cellphones and other electronic devices without hands-free technology goes into effect Thursday, June 1.

However, there will be a 60-day grace period for motorists to learn about the law.

During the grace period, violators will receive a written warning, said Deputy Ryan Inglett, a Pima County sheriff’s spokesman.

 The Board of Supervisors passed the law May 2 — joining the city of Tucson and Oro Valley in restricting the use of electronic devices while driving on a street or highway. There are a few exemptions. The laws in all three jurisdictions are similiar.

Oro Valley’s law went into effect in January, and Tucson’s went into effect May 1.

Supervisors made violations of the law a primary offense, meaning deputies can stop drivers once they see the offense committed. Oro Valley’s law is the same.

Tucson’s law makes it a secondary offense, meaning officers need to see another violation first before stopping motorists.

The law will help make county roads safer because it will cut down on distracted driving, said Inglett. He said distracted driving is one of the most dangerous activities motorists can do.

The county law reads: “A person may not use a handheld electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway unless that device is specifically designed or configured to allow hands-free use and is used in that manner.”

According to a 2015 Arizona Department of Transportation report, Motor Vehicle Crash Facts, statistics on distracted-driving behavior show:

  • Talking on hands-free devices resulted in 165 crashes. Of those crashes, two were fatalities and 53 resulted in injuries.
  • Talking on hand-held devices resulted in 374 crashes. Of those crashes, two were fatalities and 124 were crashes with injuries.
  • Involvement in other activity with an electronic device resulted in 1,086 crashes. Of those crashes, eight were fatalities and 397 resulted in injuries.
  • Manually operating an electronic device resulted in 587 crashes. Of those crashes, three were fatalities and 219 were crashes with injuries.

The data in the state report are provided by law enforcement agencies, and the results are compiled from Arizona Traffic Crash Reports submitted to ADOT.

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