Is It Illegal to Text and Drive in Arizona?
As of January 2021, the Arizona Hands-Free Law prohibits the use of handheld electronic devices, such as cell phones and tablets, while driving. This legislation aims to curb distracted driving by making it illegal to text, make phone calls, or engage in any activity on electronic devices without utilizing hands-free features. The statewide ban has replaced 26 previous local ordinances, ensuring consistent enforcement across Arizona. Drivers caught using handheld devices risk fines and penalties, emphasizing the importance of remaining focused on the road and utilizing hands-free technology to maintain safety for all road users.
Distracted driving is a significant problem on our roads today. As the number of mobile devices has grown, so has the temptation to use them while driving. In this blog post, we will discuss the legality of texting and driving in Arizona and provide valuable insights into the consequences you may face if you break the law. At Chelle Law, our experienced criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to helping those in Scottsdale and the surrounding areas understand their rights and responsibilities on the road.
Arizona’s Texting and Driving Laws
In April 2019, Arizona passed a law that prohibits the use of handheld mobile devices while driving, known as the Hands-Free Law. The law, which took full effect on January 1, 2021, aims to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities caused by distracted driving.
Under the Hands-Free Law, it is illegal for drivers to:
- Physically hold or support a mobile device while driving.
- Write, send, or read any text-based communication.
- Watch, record, or broadcast video on a mobile device.
Drivers may use voice-based communication or hands-free options like Bluetooth, however, to ensure they can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
Penalties for Texting and Driving in Arizona
If caught violating the Hands-Free Law, drivers may face the following penalties:
- First-time offenders: A fine between $75 and $149.
- Second-time and subsequent offenders: A fine between $150 and $250.
It’s important to note that these fines are civil penalties and not criminal. However, if a driver’s actions lead to an accident or injury, they could face additional criminal charges, such as reckless driving or aggravated assault, depending on the severity of the incident.
Exceptions to the Hands-Free Law
There are some exceptions to the Hands-Free Law in Arizona, including:
- Emergency situations: Drivers are allowed to use a handheld device to report an emergency or call for help.
- Law enforcement and emergency personnel: Police officers, firefighters, and other emergency personnel are exempt from the law while performing their official duties.
- Stationary vehicles: If a driver is stopped at a traffic light or parked legally, they may use a handheld device.
How to Stay Safe and Compliant on the Road
To avoid penalties and stay safe on the road, consider these tips:
- Use a hands-free device or voice-activated system to make calls or send messages.
- Program your GPS or navigation system before starting your trip.
- If you must use your phone, pull over and park in a safe location before doing so.
At Chelle Law, our experienced criminal defense attorneys are here to help you navigate Arizona’s texting and driving laws. We are dedicated to protecting your rights and ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.
Facing criminal charges in Scottsdale can be daunting, but Chelle Law offers the expert representation you need to defend your case.