Nogales police stopped 49 drivers in the first month of full enforcement of a city ordinance that bans all but hands-free device use for drivers, according to the Nogales Police Department.
After 40 of those stops, NPD officers handed out a ticket. In nine cases, the driver received a warning.
While the base cost of a ticket for a first violation is $50, violators end up paying nearly three times that sum.
When Frances Villagrana went to the city court to pay the fine after getting ticketed for using her phone while driving, she said, she was surprised to learn that she would be asked to pay about $156.
City Court Manager Marty Torres said via email that, with surcharges and fees, the total price tag for a first violation comes to $137.
For a second offense, that rises to $226; for a third, $404; and if the violation is related to a crash, $493.
The court assesses an additional $20 fee for those who pay the ticket in installments.
In July, 25 people ticketed under the hands-free law had pleaded responsible and eight had requested civil traffic hearings, Torres said.
The city’s hands-free ordinance is similar to a statewide regulation that was passed earlier this year, but police cannot issue tickets under the state law until January 2020.
In January, the local ordinance will be superseded by the state law.
When Gov. Doug Ducey signed the Arizona hands-free driving law in April, 47 states had already passed similar laws banning texting while driving, according to the Governor’s Office.