Legality of Texting and Driving in Arizona

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Texting and Driving in Arizona

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It is most important, in the day of the smartphone, to know whether you can use the phone while driving. After all, there are states that do not allow drivers to use a cellular phone behind the wheel, let alone talk or text while driving. But then again, there are states that are more lenient.

Texting and Driving in Arizona

Keep in mind, while it may be legal, it is not safe. Here are some statistics on distracted driving in America:

  • 69% of drivers say they have talked on the phone while driving during the past 30 days.
  • 31% of drivers say they have texted while driving during the past 30 days.
  • 26% of fatalities from road mishaps are due to distracted driving. It is the 3rd leading cause of road accident deaths behind alcohol (30.8%), and speeding (30%).
  • Studies reveal that texting while driving is 6x more dangerous than drunk driving.

So, are you allowed to use your phone while driving in Arizona? The answer is “it depends.” Read on for the details.


Is Texting and Driving Legal in Arizona?

Currently, there is no state-wide texting and driving ban in place for the entire state of Arizona. However, there is a statewide ban in Arizona that does allow specific occupational workers, like drivers of school buses, from sending and reading text messages while driving.

Some cities, however, like Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and Tempe that have implementing city-wide ordinances that ban motorists from texting and driving at the same time while in that city. Pima County and Coconino County have passed hands-free cellphone laws, requiring the driver to use a Bluetooth receiver or other hands-free devices to take the call. Thus, you may need to do your own research on the cities and county you intend to drive through to find out if you will be allowed to text while driving. The law is rapidly changing.


Is Texting or Talking on the Phone Allowed while Parked in Arizona?

Now, if you are driving in Arizona and you need to take a phone call, can you park or pull over to take the call and not be apprehended? The answer is a simple yes. However, you can do so provided you can park or pull over legally. You shouldn’t just stop in front of a no stopping or no parking sign. Although, you cannot be fined for using your phone in these places, you can be cited and fined for parking or stopping illegally.


Can You Be Fined for Talking on the Phone or Texting in a City That Has No Ordinance Banning the Use of Cell Phones While Driving?

Bear in mind that although no specific distracted driving ban yet in Arizona, the state does have laws in place that have a similar effect. If you drive recklessly while on the talking on the phone or by texting, then you can be charged with reckless driving. So if you caught violating any other driving law while making phone calls or texting while driving, you can get a traffic citation for that violation.


The Ordinances on Phone Use While Driving in Phoenix, Arizona

The Phoenix ordinance, dating back to 2007, bans the use of texting while driving. A first offense will cost $100. If someone texts and gets into a motor vehicle accident, the fine is $250.


The Ordinances on Phone Use While Driving in Tempe, Arizona

In 2015, the Tempe City Council approved one of the harshest distracted driving ordinances in the entire state of Arizona. This is an attempt to curb the pervasive cell phone use by drivers in the city. Under the ordinance, however, drivers can still talk on the phone or text behind the wheel.

Under the law, drivers can be fined if cops see them displaying erratic driving such as swerving within their lane while holding a cell phone. A first offense will cost $100, $250 for a second offense. Another violation within a period of two years would cost the driver $500.


Statewide Ban for New Drivers

Effective, July 1, 2018, new drivers are restricted from cellphone use during the first six months after receiving their license or until the new driver’s 18th birthday. A first offense is a maximum $75 fine and an extension of the restriction for an additional 30 days. A second offense is a maximum $100 fine and an extension of the restriction for 60 days. The third offense is a $100 fine and a 30 days suspension of driver’s license privileges.


What is Next

Legislation is growing. New laws are continually being proposed. Using your cellphone while driving exposes you to road accidents. It may cause you to take your eyes off the road, or fail to recognize a road hazard – even for just a few moments. Thus, the absence of a law notwithstanding, it is safest not to text and drive. Additionally, it is safest not to be talking on the phone while driving unless you use a hands-free device.

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