Arizona House Committee to consider statewide texting and driving ban

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Arizona lawmakers continue to push for a statewide texting and driving ban and the issue will once again be discussed at the state capitol.

The recent jolt of energy for this issue came almost three months ago after Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend was struck and killed by a driver who told authorities he crossed four lanes of traffic because he was texting and not paying attention.

The driver, identified as 40-year-old Jerry Sanstead, has not formally been charged in the case to date.

Arizona is one of only three states in the country without extensive texting while driving laws. Only a few cities in the state have passed ordinances against texting and driving.

Arizona Senate Bill 1141 would make it illegal to use a device behind-the-wheel, unless it is in hands-free mode.

Statistics show the legislation would make sense with 776 accidents in 2016 being listed as caused by a driver manually operating an electronic device.

In those crashes, five people were killed and 275 were hurt.