Arizona Driving Laws for 2011 and beyond
Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol used to be the number one cause for fatal auto accidents. Every state in the nation now makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher. Laws were passed to make the DUI penalties much harsher. People are hit with mandatory jail time and huge fines. Their license is often suspended and in some states they are required to install an ignition interlock device in their cars. Recent studies by many researchers have found that distracted driving is even more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. Yet there are few laws that make it a crime to send text messages while driving. A recent road test conducted by Car and Driver Magazine showed that texting drivers were four times slower to hit the brakes than people impaired by alcohol. The current laws in Arizona prohibit all school bus drivers from using a cell phone while driving. In the City of Phoenix, it is illegal for any driver to engage in text messaging. Violators will be fined $100 or $250 if their actions caused an accident. Legislators are now introducing new bills in the Arizona House and Senate to deal with some of these issues.
New Legislation Pending in Arizona
In July 2009, Robert Okerblom's son was killed by a woman who was texting while driving. He is using his story to help two Arizona State Capitol senators pass legislation that would outlaw texting while driving.
Senate Bill 1538
Senator Al Melvin is sponsoring Senate Bill 1538, also known as the No Texting While Driving Act. If this bill gets passed, it would make it illegal to compose, read or send text messages from any electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. Violators could be hit with fines ranging from $50 to $200. This was approved by the Senate on March 15, 2011 and has now been sent to the House Committee for approval.
House Bill 2426
Representative Steve Farley has introduced House Bill 2426, which seeks to ban all drivers under the age of 18 from using a cell phone while driving. He says that the dangers are multiplied when an inexperienced driver is distracted. This proposed legislation may be easier to enforce because any police officer that sees a teen using a cell phone while driving can issue a citation.
Senate Bill 1111
This bill seeks to outlaw the use of any handheld wireless device while driving. Offenders would be hit with the following fines: First Offense $100 fine Second Offense $250 fine and community service Third Offense $500 fine and community service
Get Legal Help From an Arizona Attorney
Whether you have been issued a citation for a driving infraction or charged with a misdemeanor offense, it is best to seek legal help. An experienced attorney may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Contact an Arizona traffic lawyer for advice regarding your specific case.