On April 22, 2019, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a new distracted driving bill into law. This law would officially make it illegal for any driver in the state to use a handheld cell phone or device to talk or text while driving.
The new state law officially goes into effect in 2021, and it makes using a handheld device while driving a primary offense. This means police officers don’t need another reason to stop drivers and issue citations. Simply seeing the driver using a handheld device is enough to issue a ticket.
Drivers who are pulled over for texting and driving would face fines between $75 and $149, with subsequent violations up to $250.
While officers are not allowed to issue tickets for using handheld cell phones before the law goes into effect in 2021, they are allowed to issue warnings to drivers.
This new law made Arizona the 48th state in the country to ban texting and driving and the 18th state to enact a blanket ban on the use of handheld devices while driving.
Can You Talk on the Phone While Driving?
According to the new law, drivers are not allowed to use their handheld cell phone at all while driving. This includes talking, writing messages, surfing the internet, watching a video, or even reading a text message. They are allowed to use these devices as long as they have a hands-free option, such as using voice-to-text or wearing an earpiece.
There are some exceptions to this law. Drivers are allowed to perform specific tasks on their cellphone while driving, including:
- Swiping a screen to make or accept a phone call
- Using the device’s GPS navigation
- Using a cell phone while stopped at a traffic light or stop sign
- Using a cell phone to call 911 or report a crime
What About Current Laws in Other Cities in Arizona?
Before this law was passed, numerous other Arizona cities had already banned cell phone use and/or texting while driving. Those city laws will stay in effect until the new state law replaces them in 2021.
Some of the cities in the Phoenix community with current cell phone laws include:
- El Mirage – bans handheld cell phone use while driving
- Fountain Hills – prohibits texting while driving
- Glendale – bans handheld cell phone use while driving
- Phoenix – illegal to text while driving
- Surprise – bans handheld cell phone use while driving
- Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community – illegal to text while driving
- Tempe – prohibits handheld cell phone use while driving
Distracted driving is an epidemic in the country and on the rise. Drivers who use a handheld cell phone while driving are 4 times more likely to get into a serious car crash. However, even with new distracted driving laws in place, catastrophic and deadly accidents still occur.
Contact Our Phoenix Traffic Accident Lawyers Today
If you or someone you love has been a victim of a distracted driving accident in Phoenix, you may be uncertain where to turn for help. At Miller Kory Rowe LLP, our Phoenix car accident lawyers know that distracted drivers cause unimaginable harm when they drive recklessly. We also know that injured accident victims need someone on their side from the very beginning, protecting their rights to compensation. Contact us today at (602) 461-8640 for a free initial consultation and review of your potential case. We are here when you need us the most and we will fight for you every step of the way.