Arizona State Rep. introduces texting and driving ban bill

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Just days after Salt River Police officer Clayton Townsend was killed, a new state legislative proposal aims to tighten restrictions on distracted driving.

There are only three states in the U.S. where a state-wide texting and driving ban does not exist: Arizona , Missouri and Montana. Now, Republican state representative John Kavanaugh says Townsend's death should be a wake up call.

"I think that the tragic death of the Salt River Police officer shows that the consequences can be tragic," said State Rep. Kavanaugh.

Previously, Townsend's mother has commented on the need to encourage drivers to keep their eyes focused on the road.

"Everyone agrees that there needs to be a law enacted," said Toni Townsend. "Something needs to be done, because we continue to see tragic incidents, and people are taken from their family."

According to police, the driver who killed Officer Townsend admitted to texting behind the wheel. State Rep. Kavanaugh's proposed bill includes a $100 fine for the first violation, and $300 for the second. If a distracted driver causes a crash, then it's $500, and it's $10,000 if it leads to a death.

"I think a majority of the people would like to see a control on texting. I think we all realize that first it's dangerous," said State Rep. Kavanaugh.

In the past, there have been numerous attempts were made to pass a statewide law on texting and driving, but none have made it to the Governor's office. This time, however, Kavanuagh remains hopeful.

"This one is not overly restrictive," said State Rep. Kavanaugh. "I think it has a better chance of passing."

Governor Doug Ducey has said he would sign a texting and driving bill, if it makes it to his desk. However, the proposed bill would have to pass the House and Senate first, which State Rep. Kavanaugh says could take about two months. Law enforcement officials have also talked about the challenges of enforcing this type of law.