Arizona lawmakers introduce statewide texting and driving ban

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - A big bipartisan push is being made this morning to end a deadly problem in Arizona.

Lawmakers will try to officially make texting and driving illegal in Arizona. It seems that in every legislative session a statewide texting ban measure is introduced but eventually shot down.

But this year, in light of the death of Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend, there is a feeling that the measure could finally pass.

Sen. Kate Brophy McGee is introducing SB 1165. If signed into law, Arizona will finally have a statewide texting and driving ban.

The hands-free measure would make it illegal to use a device behind-the-wheel, unless it is in hands-free mode. Arizona is one of only a small number of states that doesn't have a statewide ban, and only a few cities in the state have passed ordinances against texting and driving.

On Wednesday in the state Capitol, several groups took part in a distracted-driving summit, where Phoenix fire and police recreated what could happen when someone is distracted behind-the-wheel.

There has been a bigger push for a statewide ban since Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend was killed during a traffic stop earlier this month.

The driver who hit Officer Townsend on the Loop 101 admitted to police that he had been texting and driving before the accident.

Sen. McGee was joined by fellow lawmakers, Officer Townsend's family and law enforcement officials at the state Capitol.

"This is a change we have to make," said Pete Johnson. "It's a social standard that everybody seems to think is OK, and it's not. We have to get the phones out of our hands."