By a 7-0 vote, the Glendale City Council last night joined a growing list of Valley cities tackling the issue of distracted driving.

The council approved an ordinance banning the use of handheld electronic devices while driving. After the vote, Vice Mayor Joyce Clark, who originally raised awareness of the issue with council, praised city staff for preparing and bringing the ordinance to council for a vote.

The new ordinance, which takes effect Feb. 7, 2019, bans use of handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle. Use of such devices in hands-free mode would be allowed. Violation of the ordinance is a primary offense, meaning police can pull over motorists for that violation alone. The fine is $250.00 for the first offense.

The Glendale Police Department will work to educate officers and the public about the new rules as the ordinance takes effect. The ordinance is similar to bans in Surprise and El Mirage. Councilmember Bart Turner says he also sees an opportunity for Glendale and other west valley cities to work together to educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving.

“Distracted driving is extremely dangerous and puts other drivers and pedestrians lives in danger,” says Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to keep Glendale and our streets safe and I am absolutely certain that this ordinance will save lives.”

Vice Mayor Clark hopes with so many valley cities passing this kind of ordinance, the legislature will adopt the law statewide.