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Texting while driving may be in Yavapai County’s hands

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Yavapai County soon may take matters into its own hands with distracted driving.

The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors will meet Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 9 a.m. to a host a public hearing on the possibility of adopting an ordinance to regulate texting while driving.

The meeting will be at 10 S. 6th Street in Cottonwood.

If the ordinance is approved, it would take effect throughout the unincorporated areas within Yavapai County as well as the boundaries of any city or town that may vote to adopt the ordinance.

The final hearing and adoption of Ordinance 2018-1 will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 3 in Prescott.

Some municipalities within the state such as Sedona, Oro Valley and Tucson have banned any use of a hand-held cellphone behind the wheel.

Cities like Phoenix, Flagstaff and Fountain Hills only prohibit texting while driving.

This month, the Phoenix suburb of Surprise passed an ordinance banning talking, texting or anything involving a hand-held wireless device while driving.

Sedona adopted a ban on cell phone use while driving in 2014.

The ordinance states:

“A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a portable communications device to engage in a call unless that device is configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used exclusively in that manner while driving. Texting and typing while operating a motor vehicle are banned.”

Sedona Police Chief David McGill said his officers generally will let those from out of town off with a warning.

“We don’t write them a ticket,” he said. “We leave it up to the officers, most of the time. It’s about education.”

Meanwhile, Arizona is one of only three states that still does not have a state-wide ban on texting while driving. Lawmakers like Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, have tried for years to pass a state-wide ban.

While Arizona may not have a state-wide ban yet, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill last spring prohibiting teens from using any wireless device while holding a learner’s permit and during the first six months of their provisional license.