Hearing that tempting buzz or ring of your phone while on the road can be awfully distracting. However, giving into such a distraction can lead to a traffic accident in the blink of an eye. HB2318, signed into law by Governor Ducey on Monday, April 22, 2019, was enacted to curtail accidents caused by Arizona texting and driving. While the new law made mobile phone use while driving illegal, fines did not go into effect until January 1, 2021. Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys is here to warn you of dangers of mobile phone use while driving and give you details on the new fines.
Texting and Driving Statistics
Until 2019, Arizona was one of the few states that did not have a statewide ban against texting while driving. According to an AT&T study, states that have no full, uniform, statewide ban on texting have more instances of texting and driving. In fact, such states have texting and driving rates 17% higher than average. Arizona just happens to be one example of a state with above-average levels of texting and driving.
Texting is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most risky and dangerous form of distracted driving. This is because it is a mix of the three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. Using a cell phone while driving results in 3,000–6,000 deaths each year, and such use contributes to approximately 25% of all car accidents. Furthermore, there are five times as many accidents from cell phone use than from drunk driving, and about 400,000 injuries annually result from accidents where texting and driving was involved.
A single text takes approximately five seconds of your attention. Therefore, when traveling at 55 mph, a single text can cause you to take your eyes off the road for the entire length of a football field.
Additionally, according to a 2017 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over 87% of respondents support legislation against reading, typing, or sending a text or email message via cellular devices. Finally, over 87% believe that distracted driving is more of a threat than drugged driving, drunk driving, and aggressive driving.
Arizona Texting and Driving Bill
The latest Arizona texting and driving bill will have a sharp impact on Arizona’s texting and driving laws. Previously, Arizona did not have statewide laws that banned mobile phone use while driving. However, with the passage of this bill, the use of any handheld electronic device while driving is now prohibited.
The bill was inspired by the death of Clayton Townsend, a Salt River police officer. Townsend was killed by a distracted driver that was reportedly texting and driving at the time of the incident.
While the bill does prohibit handheld electronic devices while driving, there are some exceptions. For example, you can use your cell phone to report illegal activity or to call for help. Additionally, if your vehicle is at a red light or parked, you won’t be penalized for using your phone. Hands-free devices and infotainment software, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, are also exempt from the bill’s penalties.
Beginning in January 2021, first-time offenders can receive a fine from $75 to $149, and subsequent offenses will result in fines from $150 to $250. Prior to 2021, police officers issued warnings instead of official citations.
How To Avoid Texting and Driving Penalties
To stay safe on the road and to avoid facing hefty penalties listed in the Arizona texting and driving bill, you should never use your phone unnecessarily while operating a motor vehicle. If you have an emergency, pull over to the side of the road if possible before making a phone call.
Additionally, when using your car’s infotainment system, make sure you’re utilizing the hands-free or voice-activated features. The optimal way to drive, though, is with no distractions at all. So, if you can, put your phone away altogether. The fewer distractions there are, the better your concentration on the road.
Accidents, Injuries, and Arizona’s Texting and Driving Bill
With the passage of HB2318 comes changes to Arizona’s legal code, which means that if you were injured by someone that was texting and driving, you don’t want to navigate the laws yourself. Instead, contact our legal team at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys right away! Our Arizona personal injury lawyers know how to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Our office is open from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but you can always call us at 844-977-1900. Consultations are free, so there’s no financial risk in contacting us. Additionally, you can reach out to us with a contact form or take advantage of our LiveChat feature. There are plenty of ways to get in touch, and we don’t collect a penny until we win your case. So don’t wait; call us today!
The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.