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Mon, Feb. 24

Crackdown on drivers using hand-held cellphones in Flagstaff area starts Saturday

Starting November 22, Coconino County law enforcement will begin cracking down on the use of cellphones without a hands-free device while driving.

The law was passed in April. It came with a grace period, during which officers could issue warnings to drivers who violated the law, but that time is about to expire.

Texting or otherwise typing is banned, but there are a few exceptions to the talking rule:

• An emergency call to 911, a hospital, or a doctor

• Operating an authorized law enforcement vehicle

• A licensed radio operator may use a two-way radio

• When driving on private property

• If the driver pulls off the roadway "in a safe and legal location."

The fine for violation is $100, and if the driver is involved in an accident, the fine can jump to $250.

The law applies throughout Coconino County, which includes Flagstaff and Grand Canyon National Park, unless a city or town has a different ordinance.

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