Most people know just how dangerous using a cellphone can be while driving. Several states and local governments have passed laws forbidding people from using cellphones during the operation of a motor vehicle. The Arizona Senate recently passed a bill that makes it a crime for a driver to hold a mobile device while a vehicle is moving. Some lawmakers are concerned that this bill doesn’t go far enough. Another Senate bill seeks to limit distracted driving overall, in the hopes that it will curtail the amount of car accidents.
The distracted driving bill has already passed the Senate. It would allow law enforcement to ticket drivers who do any non-driving activity behind the wheel that creates an “immediate hazard,” or if it reasonably inhibits a person’s control of the vehicle. Supporters of the bill say that there are many more activities that people do while driving that can be a distraction and create dangerous driving conditions besides cellphone use. Some examples cited include eating or applying makeup.
Opponents of the bill worry that the language is too broad and will penalize drivers for any number of activities, such as just simply holding a mobile device. One lawmaker gave the example of a parent stopped at a stoplight who momentarily retrieves a bottle for a child, but inadvertently ends up blocking traffic. Supporters argue that these kinds of incidents can still cause an accident that could end up harming people or destroying property.
Both bills now go to the Arizona House for the next step in the process before becoming law. The hope that they will prevent car accidents seems to be supported by studies from around the nation. Even so, motor vehicle accidents can still happen, and victims may not realize the options they have before them for legal recourse. Anyone who is injured in a car accident may wish to speak to an attorney to determine the best course of action in seeking justice.