Council passes distracted driving ordinance
Goes into effect at the beginning of 2019
The Town of Chino Valley has joined Yavapai County and the City of Prescott in passing a distracted driving ordinance at its Tuesday, Nov. 13, meeting, according to a news release from Chino Valley Information Officer Matt Santos.
In a unanimous decision, the Chino Valley Town Council adopted Ordinance 18-859, amending Chapter 71 of the Town Code and adding section 71.14 covering the use of portable communication and electronic devices.
“No person shall, except as otherwise provided in this section, use a mobile communication device while operating a motor vehicle upon a street or highway, unless the device is specifically designed or configured to allow hands-free use and is used in that manner while operating a motor vehicle,” the ordinance states.
There are several exceptions listed in the ordinance including some emergency services, fire, police and medical personnel provisions as well as for those operating a vehicle on private property.
The ordinance goes into effect Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, and Chino Valley Police Chief Charles Wynn stated that an intense educational campaign will begin in an effort to inform the public on the ordinance’s specifics. Penalties for violations may include a $125 fine, or $250 if the person is in violation of the ordinance and involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Mayor Darryl Croft warned the public that once the ordinance goes into effect, if they’re going to use a phone in their vehicle, they should attach it to something so it isn’t in their hand.
“If you’re driving and you’re observed with a phone in your hand, you’re going to be pulled over by a police officer and you’re going to be cited,” Croft said. “We don’t want to fine people, we just want to stop them from using the phone when they’re driving.”
A full copy of the ordinance is available at www.chinoaz.net/AgendaCenter under the Tuesday, Nov. 13 meeting link under PACKET. It begins on page 47.