An unbiased report I wrote on a new distracted driving ordinance in the city of Tempe.
Report on the Update of the Distracted Driving Ordinance in Tempe, Arizona
On the 28th of February, 2019, the council of the city of Tempe updated an ordinance
regarding the penalties for distracted driving related to the unlawful use of a mobile electronic
device. Using a mobile electronic device while driving is now a primary offense.
Ordinance No. O2019.7 now states that anyone holding, typing, or otherwise manually
operating a mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle, unless that motor vehicle
is parked or stopped, is guilty of a civil violation and subject to a fine. This fine is equal to $100
plus penalty assessment for the first offense, and goes up to $250 and $500 plus penalty
assessments for the second and third offenses, respectively.
Ordinance No. O2019.7 has several exceptions, most of which are associated with emergency
personnel or emergency situations. Drivers using commercial radios, licensed radios, and
mobile electronic devices in hands-free mode are also excepted from the penalties.
Beyond outlining these penalties and exceptions, the ordinance declared a state of emergency
due to the potential fatalities caused by distracted driving.
Mark W. Mitchell (D), the mayor of Tempe, signed the document, which was attested by Brigitta
M. Kuiper, City Clerk, and Judith R. Baumann, City Attorney.
The Tempe City Council is composed of seven elected council members including the Mayor.
According to the charter of the city of Tempe, power is granted to these members to make
policy, and power is also granted to the Mayor to declare a state of emergency.