Distracted Driving Ordinance

The Town of Oro Valley became “hands-free” on January 6, 2017, meaning drivers are not allowed to hold a cellular phone or other electronic mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. This ordinance also applies to drivers stopped at a red light. Exceptions to this ordinance include 911 emergency calls and calls to a hospital or physician’s office.

Click here to view Ordinance No. (O)16-15 (PDF)

What constitutes a hand-held electronic mobile device?

According to the ordinance, “’handheld mobile telephone’ and ‘portable electronic device’ means a wireless communication device that is designed to engage in calls, receive and transmit text, image messages and data and requires being held in one hand.”

Examples include: mobile phones, mp3 players, GPS units and gaming devices. Exclusions are amateur and two-way radios.

How am I supposed to use my phone?

The new ordinance means drivers may only make and receive phone calls using “hands free” technology, such as Bluetooth, or systems that are integrated with the vehicle. Also permitted are single-finger touch and swipe movements to devices that are mounted to the vehicle. If these methods are not available, drivers should pull over to a safe location before using their hand-held devices.

What if I don't know how to use hands-free technology?

The Oro Valley Police Department would be happy to assist drivers needing information on hands-free technology. Please call the Community Resource Unit at 520-229-5080.

Why has Oro Valley implemented this ordinance?

According to the CDC, each day in the United States, more than nine people are killed and more than, 1,153 people are injured as a result of distracted driving. In, 2014, 3,179 people were killed and another 431,000 injured in distracted driving crashes. Forty-eight states have already adopted a state law to prohibit some form of distracted driving.

Since Arizona is one of the states that does not have a law prohibiting distracted driving, the Town of Oro Valley took steps to ensure a higher level of driver safety at the local level. We want our residents to engage in driving behaviors that are safe for them as well as for the other motorists and pedestrians on the road. When we keep our eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, we are keeping our families safe and preventing unnecessary tragedies.

What happens if I am pulled over?

In the event that you are pulled over for operating a hand-held electronic device, act in the same manner you would for any traffic stop. You will NOT be asked to hand the device over to the officer.

What is the penalty for violating this ordinance?

A person who violates Article 10-14 of this ordinance and is not involved in a motor vehicle collision is subject to a civil penalty of $63 for the first violation, $100 for the second, and $200 for the third. A person who violates the ordinance and is involved in a collision is subject to a civil penalty of a minimum amount of $250.