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Fines Start Saturday for Coconino County’s Distracted-Driving Ordinance

On Saturday, Coconino County officials will begin fully enforcing a distracted-driving ordinance. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, drivers found using cell phones and other communication devises without hands-free technology could face penalties.

Fines Start Saturday for Coconino County’s Distracted-Driving Ordinance

The fines start at $100. And, if a driver is involved in an accident while using a cell phone or other communication device, the citation could be at least a $250.

Under the new rules, use of mobile devices with hands-free capability will be allowed. Other exceptions include those communicating an emergency as well as CB radio operators and those who hold a valid amateur radio license, or any license, issued by the Federal Communications Commission. Drivers who park their vehicles in a legal spot on the side of the road will also be able to use their devices. Texting or typing on any device will be banned.

The county ordinance won’t apply to those driving on private property. It covers all of Coconino County as well as incorporated areas. But, cities and towns within the county have the option to adopt their own distracted-driving rules instead.

The City of Flagstaff recently enacted a texting-only ban for motorists and cyclists. Under that law, officers will be able to fine offenders beginning in February.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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