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Fri, Oct. 18

Students weigh in on cellphone laws — fines too pricey, technology deadly?
PHS students weigh in

Drivers of vehicles on the streets of Prescott and across the county are now subject to local ordinances against use of electronic, hand-held devices. (Liam Rogers/Courtesy)

Drivers of vehicles on the streets of Prescott and across the county are now subject to local ordinances against use of electronic, hand-held devices. (Liam Rogers/Courtesy)

There has been a lot of talk lately across Yavapai County over the Arizona Legislature’s new proposal to prohibit texting while driving a car.

For the many adults who have been driving for many years, this new law would be quite a change. The proposal would be statewide; currently Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley and Yavapai County have made using electronic devices illegal while driving.

But what do newer drivers who do not have much time logged on the road think about this new law?

“Well, I think it’s good that the city is taking the younger generations’ safety more seriously, although the fine is pretty pricey,” said Amie Cunningham, a Prescott High School student. “They have to remember the teenagers are the ones using the cellphones while driving and that a lot of them can’t afford it, so the burden has to fall on the parents.

“Maybe lowering the price could be taken into consideration, making it still high, because the act does put others, including the driver, in danger but enough to where the teen can pay for it.”

Some students have a more personal reaction to the proposed law.

“My opinion on the hands-free law is I think it’s extremely necessary. It’s a complete distraction to what’s going on in the road when you’re using your phone,” Prescott High School junior Carl Flannigan said.

“And, I myself, was actually almost in a car crash because the person who was driving was texting. I think that the only way we can truly get people to be safer on the roads and stop texting while driving is to have the consequence of getting that ticket.”

A ticket for getting caught using your phone while driving in Prescott can have a penalty of up to $250.

Flannigan’s story shows the main reason why the Legislature is considering this bill: to stop phone-related car accidents, which can be fatal. The measure could help protect drivers, young and old, from the risk of someone who is distracted on the road.

Missy Townsend, athletic director at Prescott High School, agrees with Carl’s opinion. “With all of the advances in technology, our world has seen more changes in the last decade than in the previous century! This technology surely has been a blessing to many but it also has the ability to be a distraction even a deadly one.”

She has heard that smartphones “need to be our servant and not our master. To me this is the tipping point for technology. When we allow our phones to rule our actions and our self-control, that is when technology becomes deadly.”

It is hard to find an opinion that is against these new laws. Both students and adults feel that safety is the most important priority for themselves and the community and can agree that these efforts are necessary for the safety of all Arizona residents.

Currently, Arizona is one of only three states that do not have a statewide ban on texting. While many cities have enacted ordinances against this practice, lawmakers and citizens have taken steps to make sure texting while driving is one less reason to have accidents, injuries, or even deaths on our roads.

Woodrow Stallard is a student at Prescott High School.

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