A record number of pedestrian deaths in 2017 is making the Tucson City Council consider strengthening its hands-free ordinance.

Last March, the council passed the city’s first hand’s free ordinance. This ordinance makes using a cell phone or electronic device in a moving vehicle a secondary offense. Tucson police cannot pull someone over specifically for using a cell phone; there must be another primary reason.

Fines start at $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense and up to $500 for additional offenses. If the offense involves a traffic accident, the penalty is $500.

25 pedestrians died on Tucson streets in 2017, as a result of a car/pedestrian crash. Overall, 2017 was a deadly year in Tucson as sixty people were killed on city streets in bicycle crashes, motorcycle wrecks, car accidents and pedestrian fatalities.

The City Council is hoping that a more strict hand’s free ordinance, will help decrease the number of deaths. A left turn study is being conducted by the Tucson Department of Transportation, which could result in some intersections becoming safer.

Oro Valley & Pima County

Oro Valley and Pima County both have already passed hand free ordinances that make the use of a cellphone while driving a primary offense. The Tucson City Council will debate the issue this Tuesday, January 9th.


The State of Arizona still lacks a comprehensive hand’s free ordinance for all drivers. Arizona is one of two remaining states without a statewide ban on texting while driving for ALL drivers.

In the meantime, Arizona road fatalities continue to increase from 811 in 2015 to 865 in 2016. The statewide crash statistics for 2017 have yet to be released.

In Tucson, we already know 2017 was a deadly year on our streets. We see the results of many of these accidents with our clients.

If you’ve been involved in any crash (car/bike/pedestrian) in the Tucson area, contact us for a free case consultation with attorney John Leader.