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Arizona ended a decade of resistance to restrictions on using a cellphone while driving when Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law Monday outlawing holding a phone behind the wheel.
It is now the 48th state to ban texting and the 18th to ban hand-held phone use while driving, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Bills - Phone - Use - Years - Concerns
Bills to restrict phone use while driving have been introduced for years but haven't advanced amid concerns by Republican lawmakers about creating a "nanny state" that overregulates behavior.
The death of a police officer hit by a distracted driver last winter, heartbreaking stories from others who lost loved ones in car crashes linked to cellphone use, and a wave of restrictions enacted by local governments across the state convinced lawmakers the time was ripe for change.
Message - Message - Life - Republican - Governor
"Let's send a message that that text message can wait. It's not worth your life," the Republican governor said before signing the bill.
Ducey said momentum changed thanks in large part to the advocacy of Toni Townsend, whose son, Salt River tribal police officer Clayton Townsend, was killed in January while he was standing next to a vehicle he'd stopped on a Scottsdale freeway. Authorities said the driver who hit him was texting his wife.
Everyone - Death - Ducey - Someone - Speaks
"I think everyone just saw this as such an avoidable death," Ducey said. "And when someone comes down and speaks with...
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