Distracted driving ban steering full speed ahead

Distracted driving ban steering full speed ahead

CREATED Jul 3, 2012

Reporter: Corinne Hautala

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Caught red-handed texting while driving, in Tucson, will lead to an officer handing you a ticket.  The city-wide ban is entering month three and 9OYS wanted to know is it working?

Tucson’s texting while driving ban started off on a bumpy road.  Even before getting the green light from city council, Tucson’s City Attorney expressed his concern.

“To some level it is difficult to know if the person is checking the date, checking the time on their phone as opposed to sending a message,” said Mike Rankin.

With two full months under the belt, 9OYS wanted to know how police officers are enforcing the ban. We met with Tucson Police Sgt. Maria Hawke and asked her that question.

“Basically just like, again, other traffic infraction they observe. It’s up to them to articulate what they see happen,” she said.

Since April, five drivers were slapped with a texting and driving ticket. That’s compared to 226 ticketed for running a red light, 312 for blowing through a stop sign and 5,696 busted for speeding.

Just as an officer is looking for road violators, we took a drive around town to do the same.  Even with our focus on catching texters, we didn’t find any.  We also found it hard to even tell what was happening inside the vehicle.  We had to speed up and slow down just to peer into the car window.

So, tough to catch or maybe Tucson has actually put the brakes on the dangerous driving habit.

“Most people tend to actually comply with the law,” said Rankin.

Texting while driving is a primary offense.