Flagstaff Council Says No To Texting Ban
By Elisha Dorfsmith
The Flagstaff City Council chose not to move forward tonight with a potential ban on texting and using electronic devices while driving. Only three council members expressed an interest in exploring the ban but even they had reservations.
Adamantly opposed to the ban was Council member Jeff Oravits who argued that the proposed ordinance was very broad and would go so far as to ban drivers from using their phone for internet radio.
Oravits suggested that the City instead focus some energy on educating the public about the dangers of texting while driving.
Council member Scott Overton echoed Oravits saying he would much rather see a public education campaign over an ordinance.
Council member Karla Brewster and Mayor Jerry Nabours joined the majority with Brewster saying she would like to see a texting ban passed at the state level but not locally.
I have enjoyed reading some of the comments about this proposed ordinance on facebook and local media websites today.
Here’s my thoughts:
If someone is driving distracted and dangerous, regardless of the reason, they should face consequences. On the other hand, the City should not go out of their way to punish drivers who can handle texting or eating or other distractions. If anything, cops should be spending their time looking for dangerous drivers, not wasting time looking to see if safe drivers are texting.
The proposed ordinance said police and emergency responders would be exempt. Cops could still speed down the road punching people’s license plate numbers into their computer with no consequences. Another double standard.
The Flagstaff City Council did the right thing by rejecting this ordinance.
The Daily Sun reported that the proposed ordinance would have banned “viewing, sending, storing or composing electronic messages and sending, reading, creating, playing or interacting with Internet-based content” while driving. Cops would somehow have been exempt, even though the draft ordinance went out of it’s way to say that this kind of distracted driving is equivalent to having a blood alcohol content of at least .08 percent.