Distracted Driver Laws in Arizona

Distracted Driver Laws in Arizona

Distracted driving can happen in many ways. This is not a new phenomenon, but cell phones have been found to play a significant role compared to other forms of distraction, like fiddling with the stereo, conversing with passengers, or eating behind the wheel. 

Arizona Finally Takes Notice of Distracted Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 3,166 people lost their lives in distracted driving accidents in 2017. Many states, including Arizona, have begun to take notice of the issue and take action. New laws are being passed to address this concern.

In Arizona, the most recent law, HB 2318, was passed in April 2019. It involves the use of handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle. The law establishes that talking and texting on a handheld device while driving a car is illegal in the state of Arizona.

This law was long in the making, requiring twelve years of consideration before it was passed by the state assembly. Other states have found similar laws to have a positive impact, reducing the rate of collision by 16 percent in just two years.

What Is Included Under the Law?

Most people who have a cell phone do more than just call and text. They often use navigation systems, watch their favorite shows, listen to music, and much more. There are other highly distracting devices that aren’t even considered phones. These devices are covered by the law as a “stand-alone electronic device.”

The most notable aspect of the law is that it prohibits the driver from holding or even supporting their device at all. This goes further than just holding it in their hands. Drivers are not allowed to support it with any body part. Having the phone in a lap, or even a pocket, could be argued as “supporting” a device. However, it is likely that police officers will fail to notice a phone used in this manner.

Legal Exceptions

Distracted Driver Laws In ArizonaThere is always an exception to the rule. The new cell phone distraction law in Arizona contains some key exceptions, including:

  • “Smart” watches using voice communication attached to the wrist.
  • Built-in vehicle interfaces allowing for hands-free operations.
  • Using devices equipped with earpieces or headphones, only involving pressing a button for use.
  • Listening to texts translated to voice using a hands-free system.
  • Using a phone’s map or GPS in hands-free mode.

Parked vehicles or those who are waiting at a train railroad crossing are allowed to use mobile devices, with or without a hand-free system. This does not apply to those who are stuck in traffic or at standard traffic signals and stop signs.

Distracted Driving Crashes in Arizona

Distracted driving is a growing concern across the United States. Thousands are killed each year by distracted drivers. Victims should contact an experienced Arizona car crash attorney to protect their legal rights. Fortunately, ELG Law is here to help. We have years of experience helping those injured by distracted motorists. Contact our offices at (623) 562-3838 if you or a loved one has been unfairly injured in a crash.