Council members approved a resolution banning on using handheld communication devices while driving in Dewey-Humboldt at the Nov. 20 council meeting, joining Yavapai County and City of Prescott with their ordinances.
Council members had looked at either adopting Yavapai County’s ordinance as their own, or creating an individual ordinance.
Town Manager Tom Wilson suggested adopting the county’s ordinance; the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is the entity providing safety within town limits.
As other local entities adopt ordinances, Wilson said maintaining uniform guidelines would be helpful until state legislators take action. The newly-passed resolution joins other entities in making a statement to the legislature, he said.
To approve an ordinance, which places the issue into town code, council might need to take action in the future to remove that ordinance if the state takes action on the same matter.
The county’s ordinance prohibits operating a vehicle while using portable communications devices in unincorporated county areas. The new law went into effect Nov. 2, but the county as well as City of Prescott will be issuing warnings until after the first of the year.
“We’re not anticipating, and neither is the Sheriff’s Office, an enforcement mechanism by violation until after a large education/warning program with violators,” Wilson said.
Council member Jack Hamilton said he was in favor of adopting the resolution sooner rather than waiting for the state to step in. “It might be five years down the road. I think we should adopt it now,” he said.
The resolution passed 4-2 with Hamilton and council member Ann Timmons opposing; Mark McBrady was absent.
Hamilton clarified in a phone call Nov. 27 that the Sheriff’s Office can write a ticket, but because the town doesn’t have an ordinance, only a resolution, officers can’t take the violator to court or enforce the ticket. He would rather have the town approve an ordinance.
Timmons did respond to messages left at Town Hall.