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SIERRA VISTA — After a recent increase in rear-end collision resulting from distracted drivers using cell phones, the Sierra Vista Police Department reminds motorists that Arizona approved a hands-free law in 2019 and urges drivers to change their behavior now.

Violating the state’s hands-free law is considered a primary offense, meaning officers may pull drivers over and issue a warning if they are holding a cell phone or other electronic device while traveling on the road.

The ability to issue citations will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021, but it’s important that drivers begin exercising safe, legal behavior now.

“Using a cell phone while driving is one of the most common and most dangerous forms of distracted driving,” SVPD Public Information Officer Cpl. Scott Borgstadt says. “Texting or using a cell phone in-hand often takes the driver’s eyes and attention off the road long enough to cause a collision. When traveling at 55 mph, a vehicle travels the length of a football field in just 5 seconds.”

In 2018 alone, 2,841 people were killed due to distracted driving in the United States, and approximately 400,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Hands-Free Arizona Law At a Glance

Prohibits

• Holding or supporting a wireless device while driving

• Writing or reading any text-based communication while driving

• Watching, recording, or broadcasting video while driving

Exemptions

• Hands-free voice-to-text

• Stopped at a traffic light

• Reporting an emergency

— Submitted by Sierra Vista Police Department

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