It has been against Arizona law for drivers to use cell phones while driving since 2019. However, law enforcement was only permitted to issue warnings in the past. Starting January 1, 2021, everything changes. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the New AZ Cell Phone Driving Law?
With the new state law going into play, law enforcement can now issue tickets and assign fines for people who are caught using their mobile phones while driving. This is, unless, the mobile phone is being used in a hands-free mode in compliance with the hands-free law.
The fines for infractions begin at $75 and go up to $149 for a first offense. They can go up to $150 or even $250 for subsequent occurrences. These citations do not result in points on Arizona driver’s licenses, but they can result in the temporary loss of commercial driving licenses.
Drivers in violation of the Arizona cell phone law who cause accidents resulting in injuries or death could face license suspensions, up to six months in jail, and be ordered to pay restitution of up to $100,000.
This new statewide law will replace any local laws enacted banning the use of cell phones while driving in Arizona.
What Is No Longer Allowed While Driving?
The new AZ cell phone driving law prohibits the use of cellphones while driving, including:
- Holding the phone in any way while talking on it
- Writing, reading, making notes, or sending text messages, emails, and other text-based communications
- Watching or recording videos
The law applies to standalone electronic devices and any type of portable wireless communication device, including cell phones.
As you can see, the law is fairly explicit about what drivers cannot do with their mobile phones while driving.
What are the Exceptions for this Law?
Of course, there are some exceptions to the texting and driving laws Arizona law that must be considered as well. Here’s what you need to know about the exceptions. You may use your cell phone while driving for the following event:
- Swiping the screen to accept or make a call.
- Using GPS.
- Using voice-based communications, as in talk-to-text features.
- Talking on the phone with an earpiece, headphone, or wrist-worn device.
- Using your mobile phone to call 9-1-1.
- Using your phone while stopped at a traffic light.
Other exceptions include people needing emergency help or witnessing a crime. Officers who are responding to an emergency are also exempt.
Why Did This New Law Happen?
Despite some resistance on the state level for an outright ban of using mobile phones while driving, this law gained widespread support after Salt River police officer, Clay Townsend, was struck and killed by a commercial driver who was distracted driving in Arizona.
Arizona is not the first, nor will it be the last to enact bans on handheld cell phones while driving. Thus far, 24 other states have initiated similar bans.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
To learn more about Arizona’s new Distracted Driving Law or if you’ve been injured in an accident by a distracted driver, contact the legal team at Brad Johnson Injury Law to request a FREE consultation. Call us today at 602-910-4952.