Lovitt & Touché News Alert: Pima County Hands-Free Ordinance

On June 1, 2017 it will be illegal to use a handheld electronic device while driving unless using a hands-free setup. Pima County is strengthening its existing law, which currently makes it illegal to text and drive.

While Tucson and Oro Valley municipalities already had a hands-free law, the City of Tucson’s ordinance is a secondary offense, meaning you may receive a citation from law enforcement but only after you have been pulled over for another offense.  However, in Oro Valley and soon throughout Pima County, violation of the hands-free law is a primary offense, meaning officers can pull you over and cite you for that violation alone.

The revised language of Pima County’s ordinance is, “A person may not use a handheld electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway unless that device is specifically designed or configured to allow hands-free use and is used in that manner.” The ordinance defines a handheld electronic device as “a wireless communication device that is designed to engage in calls or receive and transmit text, image messages, or data.” Some of the exceptions include reporting an emergency or while on private property. Law enforcement and emergency personnel are also exempt, as long as their use is for official duties.