The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

61° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Hands on wheel, off phone”

    Jianne Johnson, an English junior, demonstrates how dangerous it is to drive and text at the same time. A bill proposed by Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, would prohibit text-messaging while driving.
    Jianne Johnson, an English junior, demonstrates how dangerous it is to drive and text at the same time. A bill proposed by Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, would prohibit text-messaging while driving.

    Text-messaging while driving could become a secondary offense, complete with fines up to $200, if the Arizona state Legislature passes a bill proposed by Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson.

    According to the bill, a driver could not be only be pulled over just for text-messaging while driving, but could also be fined if pulled over for another offense while text-messaging.

    The fine for a driving-while-texting, or DWT, offense would be $50.

    If a driver causes an accident while text-messaging, the fine would increase to $200.

    According to the bill introduced by Farley Jan. 16, not only would it be illegal to compose text-messages while driving, it would also be illegal to read them while driving.

    The bill does not mention talking on a cell phone while driving, or using any other cell phone function other than text-messaging.

    Thirty-seven percent of people ages 27 and younger admit to text-messaging while driving, according to a study conducted by Nationwide Mutual Insurance released on Jan. 22.

    In the study, younger drivers reported using their cell phones the most while driving.

    Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study of driving distractions and accidents, during which they followed 241 drivers for one year.

    Their study, released in April 2006, found that cell phone usage was the biggest distraction to drivers.

    Although evidence indicates there is an obvious danger to text-messaging while driving, many UA students are not sure how a law like this would work.

    Thomas Lewis, an aerospace engineering senior, said he doesn’t text-message while driving, but even if he did, this bill wouldn’t make him stop.

    “”You would have to be an idiot to hold your phone in front of your face while you’re driving,”” Lewis said. “”How would they even know that you are texting? … I’ve seen girls put on makeup, read a newspaper and drive at the same time. I’m sure there are a lot worse things you could do while driving.””

    Some students admit to text-messaging while driving.

    “”All you have to do is hold your phone down low, so they don’t see,”” said Sarah Merkle, a psychology senior. “”I feel like this bill is pointless because how are

    police going to know you are texting? But it’s a good idea.””

    Morgan Lor, an engineering management sophomore, said he text-messages while driving but thinks it’s very dangerous.

    “”I don’t think that law can be enforced, but I think it’s a good idea because people who text and drive are horrible drivers,”” Lor said.

    Nicole Hauptman, a psychology senior, said if the bill is passed, she might stop text-messaging while driving when streets are really busy, but not if there isn’t much traffic.

    “”I text-message while driving but I probably shouldn’t because it is distracting,”” she said.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search