City of Surprise gives statistics on texting and driving ban

SURPRISE, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- Arizona is one of the few states that does not have a texting and driving ban for all drivers. Slowly, however, more and more cities are adopting the ban. In the West Valley city of Surprise, a law that only allows hands-free devices was adopted about six months ago.

Under the ordinance that went into effect last September, drivers who break the hands-free ordinance could get a ticket. Most drivers in the area say they support the ban on texting while driving.

"It's just a matter of time where people are going to realize they can kill people like that very easily," said Johnnie Hernandez.

"It's not right, especially with that cop that recently passed, that really hit home with me. Especially, I think, we've all done it. That's been a reality. No, just put it down," said Heather Standridge.

Anyone violating the ordinance faces a $250 fine. Violations include talking or texting on a phone, even if the vehicle is not in motion.

"We've issued 145 citations since the ordinance went into effect, and we have made it one of our five top priorities," said Sgt. Tim Klarkowski.

Sgt. Klarkowski says they realize they cannot enforce their way out of the texting and driving problem, but that this an ongoing conversation to get people to change a mindset of many in the community.

"When you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, there is only one place your eyes belong, and that's on the roadway," said Sgt. Klarkowski. "There's no phone call, no text message, no social media post. None of those are worth risking lives on the roadway.