Enforced January 1, 2021
Distracted driving has dramatically increased as more and more people own cellular devices, particularly smart phones. In the US alone, approximately 260 million people own a smart phone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the United States, around nine people are killed every day due to car accidents involving a distracted driver.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that Arizona is cracking down on distracted drivers. Beginning January 1, 2021, it will be illegal to use a stand-alone electronic device—this includes, but is not limited to, cell phones, tablets, computers, music and gaming devices—while driving a vehicle. This helps ensure that the driver is focused on the road, which is critical for the safety and protection of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
Arizona Hands-Free Cell Phone Law Do’s and Don’ts
Arizona Department of Public Safety states It is ILLEGAL to:
- Hold or support a device with your body.
- This includes, but is not limited to, in your hands or perched on your shoulder.
- Read, write or send a message via any portable wireless communication device.
- Scroll through social media, watch videos, record videos, or any other use of the device that causes a distraction and requires use of your body.
It is LEGAL to:
- To engage and disengage a function on the device such as GPS route start and answering or ending a call.
- Use a device for navigation of the vehicle.
- Talk on the phone if using an earpiece, headphone device or device work on a wrist.
- Talk on the portable wireless communication device with an earpiece, headphone device or device worn on the wrist to conduct a voice-based communication.
- Swipe a phone screen to make or accept a call.
- Use a handled phone while stopped at a traffic light or stoplight.
- Use voiced-based communication, such as talk to text function.
- Use a device in an emergency to request help or report a crime.
What does this mean for drivers?
The new Arizona law makes texting while driving a “primary offense.” This means an officer can pull a driver over for texting and driving even if no other violation has occurred. Additionally, a driver may be fined $75-$149 for the first violation or $150-$250 for a second of subsequent violation. While this may seem like a hefty fine, Alaska carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 and one year in prison for using your cell phone while driving.
Drivers who violate Arizona’s hands-free law may be subject to criminal penalties of up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine for causing a crash that results in death or a serious injury.
Distracted drivers can rear-end other cars, drift into other lanes, cross into oncoming traffic and hit pedestrians. If you were injured by such a driver, our lawyers can help you obtain the compensation you need.