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Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 12:00 am

AAA has launched a Web site, www.azlegislation.com, aimed at keeping Arizonans informed and engaged on transportation bills being considered during the 2010 Arizona legislative session. Web site visitors will have the chance to stay on top of issues and discuss them with other online community members.

Some important matters this session include:

 

Child passenger safety

Existing Arizona law requires children under 5 to be placed in a child restraint system when riding in a vehicle. This requirement has saved lives. However, as effective as the current law has been, it has a major flaw.

Arizona is one of three states that is failing to protect child passengers older than 5. Since the use of booster seats is known to reduce the risk of child injuries by 59 percent, AAA believes Arizona also should act this year. To that end, AAA has formed a coalition of law enforcement and fire officials, hospitals, nurses, physicians and public safety advocates to support Senate Bill 1010, requiring the use of booster seats for children under the age of 9 who are not taller than 4 feet 9.

 

Roadside assistance safety act

AAA also is looking to close another legislative loophole regarding emergency roadside assistance personnel. Under current law, motorists are required to “move over” to another lane, when safe to do so, in order to provide first responders (police, fire, medical response) with adequate space to do their jobs safely. However, this law fails to protect other roadside assistance personnel who are doing their job every day at the side of the road. For example, in 2008 a tow truck driver and a stranded motorist were struck and killed on the Loop 202. AAA Arizona supports the Roadside Assistance Safety Act, aimed at granting this same protection to roadside assistance personnel and stranded motorists.

 

Text messaging while driving ban

While driving distracted by any means is dangerous, texting has shown by far to be the most dangerous distraction of all. A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that drivers who engage in text messaging are 23 times more likely to be involved in an automobile crash or narrowly avoid one.

AAA is working to pass laws banning text messaging by drivers in all 50 states by 2013, citing strong public support for the laws and the clear danger of distracted driving. AAA Arizona will take a close look at distracted driving legislation this session and a bill that bans this dangerous practice.

AAA is looking forward to the opportunity to continue to work hard on behalf of the motoring public in order to improve safety and protect motorists’ rights during the 2010 legislative session. In addition, we encourage you to visit www.azlegislation.com to become informed, engage with others and help us shape our legislative agenda.

 

Linda Gorman is the public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or lgorman@arizona.aaa.com.

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