Shawn Cunningham and Frank Powers in front of their law office building

Wrongfully Injured?

Medical Malpractice and Catastrophic Injury Attorneys

*Certified Specialist in Serious Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation

Arizona’s New Hands-Free Cell Phone Law

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2021 | Car Accidents

Enforced January 1, 2021

Arizona has enacted a new law making it illegal to text or talk on a cellphone while driving unless the device is in “hands-free mode.” See Arizona Department of Transportation.

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.

Contact us today and schedule your FREE initial consultation to discuss how we can prove your claim. You can call our Phoenix office at 602-910-6779, or email us online.

PDF: Hands-Free-Arizona_HPC
TEXT: Hands-Free-Arizona_HPC_(full_text)