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‘No Texting While Driving’ Sign Posted in SRPMIC

L-R: Sommer Lopez, Jacob Willeford and Ramon Lopez help place the first “No Texting While Driving” sign up in the Community.

It’s the law… Since 2014, members of the Young River People’s Council have been advocating for a “No Texting While Driving” ordinance for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Council approved the ordinance in 2016.

Now, the Community has erected a “No Texting While Driving” sign to help enforce the ordinance. The sign was posted on Longmore Road, a little north of McDowell, between the Community Building and the Salt River Ball Field.

Youth Council members Sommer Lopez and Ramon Lopez and former Youth Council member Jacob Willeford were present on the morning of August 8, along with staff from the SRPMIC Public Works Roads Division, to help put the sign up. Council members Archie Kashoya and Michael Dallas were also on hand.

The sign is the first of its kind in the Community and in Indian Country.

For Willeford, the project became a personal goal when he was 14 as a way to enhance public safety. As a youth, he worked for the Salt River Fire Department and went on numerous ride-alongs; he saw many car accidents as a result of people texting and driving.

So he and other members of the Youth Council brought the concern to a Council meeting a few years ago to encourage a new ordinance. Working on the ordinance required a lot of personal time and commitment to meet with Community members, explaining the proposed law and working with the Tribal Council and the SRPMIC General Counsel’s office as well.

Now 18 and ready for college, Willeford said he never thought it would get this far.

“I think it’s important because I didn’t think this would happen—in a way I just always thought it would be little signs throughout the Community,” said Willeford. “But this is a real ADOT sign with the ordinance [printed] on it. I know it’s very important for the Community to have this up,” said Willeford proudly.

Additional “No Texting While Driving” signs will be placed throughout the Community. Motorists who text while driving will be fined.