Tucson police will now be able to pull over drivers they see using their cellphones while driving, without needing any other reason, beginning February 1st.

Officers will issues warnings to drivers for the first 30 days, to educate offenders about the new law, before they begin issuing tickets in March.

The Tucson City Council voted Tuesday night to make use of a cellphone while driving a primary offense, instead of a secondary one.

On the 4-1 vote Tuesday night, the council also reduced the fines for civil violations of the cellphone law — those not involving a traffic accident — from $250 for a first-time offense to $50.

Tucson has an existing ban on cellphone use, but it was significantly weaker than the ones in Oro Valley and unincorporated Pima County. Previously, Tucson’s law required an officer to have a primary reason other than cellphone use to pull a driver over.

TPD issued a total of 44 citations for violating the hands-free ordinance and 18 written warnings through the end of November of 2017, according to department figures.

Drivers can use a device in the hands-free mode, according to the text of the ordinance.

Despite laws in Oro Valley, Pima County, and now Tucson, driving on a major thoroughfare like Oracle Road, still shows a significant portion of drivers using their phones. We’ve witnessed drivers using Snapchat at the wheel, texting at red lights and talking on the phone without the hands-free engagement.

What will it take to finally make drivers act responsibly and put cell phones down while driving? Tucson had a high number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities last year, and it’s hard to believe that distracted driving didn’t play a role is some of the deaths.

If you’ve been involved an accident and distracted driving played a role, contact us for a free case consultation.

Arizona still lacks a comprehensive law against distracted driving, unlike 48 other states.