Comedy of errors in Arizona’s House

silent comedy troupeLong resistant to distracted driving laws, Arizona’s House appeared to have a sudden change of heart.

Representatives approved a statewide ban on text messaging while driving. For a few minutes, anyway.

An outbreak of common sense? An awakening to the deadly toll of electronic distracted driving? Hardly.

Turns out the reps were just doing their Keystone Cops imitation.

A swarm of legislators weren’t paying attention days earlier when Rep. Steve Urie added his texting ban language to HB 2125, an unrelated bill concerning accident reporting.

After approving the texting/accident reporting bill in a 45-15 vote, as many as 19 lawmakers were surprised to learn they’d backed a texting ban. A reconsideration was approved, and the bill lost narrowly, 28-31.

Urie pushed through his amendments Friday, when many members of the House played hookey and bailed for the weekend. Urie had inserted the wording of his own texting plan, HB 2321, which is stuck in committee.

Rep. Nancy McLain, who voted against the plan both times, noted that her fellow lawmakers would have known the wording was in the amended bill had they attended the Friday session or simply paid attention to what they were voting on, according to the AP.

The state of Arizona has only one distracted driving law, which bans use of cell phones by school bus drivers. Its House and Senate are controlled by Republicans.


  1. Robert Andres says:

    The figures are in and they are irrefutable — texting while driving is THE MOST DANGEROUS activity on the highway today. Anyone who opposes anti-texting-while-driving legislation has to be out-of-touch with reality. Any legislator who votes against such legislation is, in my opinion, a disgrace to his or her office!

    As a conservative, I generally oppose government intervention, but this is a “no-brainer!” What is it going to take for these people to wake up — having a member of their family killed by a “texter?” It’s even more likely than having them killed by a drunk driver!

    Robert N. Andres, dDirector of Government and Public Affairs
    Suncoast Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers

  2. Ben Levitan says:

    The state laws banning texting and driving have little to do with politician’s concern for public safety. It’s all about money. Mayor Cuomo (NY) is extremely proud of his new law and brags about the number of tickets they issue now. It’s a great benefit to the city.

    Chapel Hill, NC is proposing an ordinance that would ban cell phone use in cars entirely. I spoke on technology that would stop it cold. I was given the bum’s rush. Why? They wanted to get on to discussing the fine. Should it be $25 or $100? It’s a university town and they might collect more fees at $25.

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