Lawmaker Continues Work to Ban Texting While Driving

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Though texting and driving is illegal in 44 other states, some Arizona lawmakers feel banning the practice is unnecessary.

Senator Steve Farley, (D) Tucson, is not one of those lawmakers. Farley has been a proponent for banning texting and driving for years. He was actually the first senator in the country to introduce a texting ban in 2007. Yet he’s still not been successful in Arizona. The senator remains positive though, and fiercely committed.

Senator Farley’s Case

Farley speaks often of a case that happened two years ago: when DPS Officer, Tim Huffman, was hit and killed by a distracted driver. Video of the accident showed Jorge Espinoza, 36, had his eyes on his cell phone when he crashed into Huffman’s car. Huffman was killed. But Espinoza was never convicted of murder. “Even with the video evidence, he got off with a second-degree murder charge and the defense attorney argued it’s because we don’t have a law,” said Farley. Farley says he’s stunned that texting and driving is still legal in the state.

Small Move Forward

Farley, however, is optimistic. The Senate committee recently advanced a bill that would prohibit sending text messages while driving. Though Senate Bill 1102 has fallen on deaf ears in the past, Farley has hope that now that Senator John Kavanaugh is supporting it, the bill might go through. It’s important to note the bill was amended to only apply to entering a text message, and does not cover looking at a text message, which of course, is still dangerous.

According to Farley, the bill still needs to pass two other committees before reaching the floor. He’s fearful that politics will continue to get in the way of safety. “This isn’t a partisan issue. We don’t have red roads or blue roads we’re all on the same roads and we’re all facing the same danger,” said Farley.

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