Arizona Texting and Driving Laws
Drivers have always been exposed to vices that distract them behind the wheel. Fast food drive-thrus encourage eating while driving, radios and maps need drivers’ attention, and chatty passengers have always posed a risk. The advent of the cell phone has drastically increased driver distraction throughout the country. In 2015, at least 3,477 people died because of distracted drivers. Many of these accidents were the result of cell phone use behind the wheel. To combat this significant issue, the State of Arizona enacted a few cell phone laws.
Can Drivers Legally Use Cell Phones in Arizona?
Arizona’s cell phone laws are relatively lax compared to many other states. Drivers are allowed to text and make calls using handheld devices while driving. The only exception is school bus drivers, who cannot use handheld phones. Teen drivers cannot text and drive or otherwise use handheld cell phones during the first six months of having a driver’s license, or while holding learners’ permits. This recent legislation for teen drivers is the first the state has passed on cell phone use and distracted driving in years.
Several cell phone bills have gone to the Arizona legislature, but none have passed. However, some cities have passed municipal texting and driving bills. If you’re in Phoenix, texting and driving is illegal. Breaking this law could lead to fines of $100 to $250, if the texting causes an accident. The cities of Tucson, Tempe, and Flagstaff have also enacted cell phone laws, as have the counties of Pima, Coconino, Tucson, and Tempe. Read up on the cell phone laws in your local area to stay within the law.
The Dangers of Texting and Driving
Legal or not, cell phone use while driving is a serious risk. All forms of cell phone use behind the wheel are dangerous and distracting. Taking a phone call can take the mind off the driving task, delaying reaction times and increasing the risk of collisions. Texting and driving is particularly deadly. When someone reads or writes a text or other cell phone message, it takes the eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the driving task. Texting fulfills all three forms of driver distraction.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reading or writing one text while driving is the equivalent of driving across a football field with your eyes closed. This puts into perspective just how dangerous this practice is. When a driver is looking down at his or her phone, it is impossible to see and react to changing roadway conditions. A stopped vehicle, red light, or crossing pedestrian could all lead to collisions that a prudent driver could have avoided.
If a distracted driver caused your accident, he or she could be liable for your damages, regardless of Arizona’s cell phone laws. This is a form of negligence that the civil courts recognize in many car accident claims. Accessing the other driver’s phone records could help prove that the driver was recklessly distracted at the time of the crash. Retain a car accident attorney in Arizona if you believe cell phone use played a role in your recent injuries.