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Guest opinion

Kozachik: Hands off cellphones while driving

Tucson adopted a hands-free driving ordinance earlier this year. Since February, the Tucson Police Department has made more than 3,000 contacts with drivers under the ordinance.

To refresh you, it is illegal in Tucson to drive your car and have any electronic device in your hand. That's texting, speaking, using a tablet or GPS. The change we made in February was to make it a primary offense. That means the police don't need any reason other than seeing you talking on the phone to pull you over. I fully supported the change, and in fact, didn't think we should have spent time with it on the books as a secondary offense.

Even though there is no state law banning the use of cellphones while driving, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety is offering grant money to help us with enforcement. Ours is $20,000. Police have seen the court docket increase from about 20 to 30 cases per month, then over 50 per month. The increase is largely people wanting to fight the cell phone ticket. We have seen none that were successful.

Telling the cop who pulls you over that you were just "looking for a second" is not going to work. And dropping it down onto your lap, checking it between lights is an equal violation. Please, when you are out on the road, leave the phone and other electronic devices alone. Think of the safety, not only of those around you, but your own as well.

Steve Kozachik represents Ward 6 on the Tucson City Council. Contact him at at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or (520) 791-4601.

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