DPS plans crackdown on texting and driving

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DPS plans crackdown on texting and driving

By Craig Smith. CREATED Nov 11, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Keep your eyes on the road and not on your smartphone.  DPS is planning a crackdown on texting and driving, even though Arizona does not have a state law specifically against texting behind the wheel.      

There's a catch all law they can use against irresponsible driving and DPS has decided it applies to texting and driving.

If you look closely at the in-cab video from Jorge Espinoza's semi, you can see his smartphone flying around the cab of his truck.
Investigators say this in-cab video is from the moment his semi was plowing over patrol cars in a wreck that killed DPS Officer Tim Huffman.

Espinoza is facing a second degree murder charge.  Reports show Espinoza was on the phone, on the internet at the time of the crash.

Drivers see less extreme examples all the time.

Catherine Damron says, "It's scary.  You just never know.  They're looking down and somebody might stop in front of them and you're in trouble."

We saw one driver with a phone in his hand, right before we got this video of him drifting all over his lane.
Now DPS is working on a texting crackdown.

DPS will not use a new law against texting and driving.  Instead, it will use a law that says you must not drive faster than reasonable and prudent for conditions. DPS contends if your eyes are on your phone instead of on the road no speed is reasonable and prudent.
And if an officer decides that you may end up texting you were just pulled over.

DPS says this effort was in the works before the wreck that killed Officer Huffman. There's still some planning to do so it may not start until January.

The fine can vary based on the jurisdiction and the judge.  We did find state law that says you'll get three points on your license.  If you get eight in a year your license can be suspended.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press