Surprise police now issuing ‘texting-ban’ tickets

[file photo/Jacob Stanek/Independent Newsmedia]

By Matt Roy, Independent Newsmedia

City officials last week reminded residents Surprise has a new hands-free device ordinance, which became effective Sept. 6.

Under the new law, motorists who are cited for using a hand-held mobile communications device are subject to a civil penalty of up to $250 plus any other assessments authorized by law.

By prohibiting the use of hand-held mobile devices, Surprise hopes to reduce the number of distracted drivers on the roadways, according to a city press release.

During the first month of implementation, city police focused on issuing warnings and educating area motorists about the ordinance. As of Oct. 1, officers began issuing citations to drivers violating the law, according to Surprise Police Department spokesman Sgt. Tim Klarkowski.

“I don’t have numbers for warnings we’ve given, but I can say that we have made numerous traffic stops for violations of the distracted driving ordinance,” Mr. Klarkowski stated. “Since the new ordinance went into effect, we have issued citations for 24 violations.”

Drivers are permitted to use mobile devices when in hands-free mode or when communicating an emergency situation to emergency personnel. Two-way radio communication is permitted as long as motorists continue to safely operate the vehicle.

Public safety personnel operating in their professional capacity are exempt from the ordinance.

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