Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Mon, Feb. 24

Editorial: Go hands-free or stay away from Coconino

We told you about it this past spring: Coconino County has outlawed drivers using cellphones without a hands-free device.

The law takes effect Saturday - for anyone driving within Coconino's borders.

The county-approved ordinance generally bans texting and making calls with cellphones and other electronic devices while driving. Authorities have been giving warnings for the past few months.

The ban has several exceptions, according to the Associated Press. For example, it doesn't apply in emergency calls to police or fire departments, or to a hospital, doctor's office or ambulance service.

Anyone found violating the ban could be fined $100. The fee goes up to $250 if the violation causes a collision.

Cities there can opt out, but that's only Coconino County. We're from Yavapai County. And, this is where the state lawmakers need to step in.

Several times now, as we told you previously, Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, has worked to advance a bill banning texting while driving. Despite knowing the numbers of accidents, some of them fatal, most recently the House refused Fann's proposal this spring.

Fann, coming off her General Election win, said Thursday she plans to pursue the bill again next session, at least in regard to juveniles driving while using cellphones.

Coconino County Supervisor Mandy Metzger told the AP she's hopeful the ordinance brings attention to distracted driving and improves safety on the roads.

What insight or guts do Coconino County supervisors have that so many others do not? This is a "Siri"ous issue whose time has come - for this area and the state.

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