Law will ban some Arizona teens from texting while driving

Under a new law, teens can be fined for texting while driving within the first six months of gaining their license. (Stock photo)

Under a new law, teens can be fined for texting while driving within the first six months of gaining their license. (Stock photo)

PHOENIX (AP) — Starting July 1, new Arizona drivers under 18 will be banned from texting while driving with a learner’s permit and during the first six months of getting their license.

State lawmakers and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey passed the new law last April, the Arizona Republic reported.

Under the law, young drivers will still be allowed to use their cellphones while driving during emergency situations.

They can also listen to audible turn-by-turn navigation.

The new law is similar to other restrictions on teen drivers such as limitations on nighttime driving and driving with additional passengers.

Teen drivers must first be pulled over for another violation before officers can cite them for texting while driving.

First violations carry a fine of up $75 and an extension of the six-month period by 30 days. Second violations are punishable by a maximum fine of $100 and a 60-day extension. Three or more violations warrant fines of up to $100 and 30-day license suspensions.

Once new drivers complete six months of driving without citations for phone use, nighttime driving or additional passenger, the law no longer applies to them.

Arizona, Montana and Missouri are the only states in the country that do not ban texting while driving for all drivers.

Phoenix, Tucson and Tempe have city regulations about phone use while driving.

State Sen. Karen Fann of Prescott worked on the bill for six years and targeted it specifically at teens to boost its chance of passing.

“We knew that we were going to get pushback on this because there had been other attempts with full-out bans on texting and they’ve never gone anywhere,” Fann said. “We thought at the very least, let’s see if we can at least try to protect the teenagers and the rest of the traveling public from them.”

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