Arizona Texting and Driving Laws
Public service efforts in recent years have made large strides towards informing and educating the public on the dangers of distracted driving. Drivers are more likely to be in an accident, and accidents are more likely to be serious when drivers are distracted by texting while driving. Despite this fact, many drivers still give into the temptation to send or answer text messages while driving. This leads to vehicle accidents and injuries for many who share the road with them in Arizona.
Arizona Texting and Driving Statistics
The Arizona Department of Transportation (DOT) does not break out distracted driving accident statistics specifically for texting. However, the most recent statistics show there were 523 accidents involving drivers talking in a hand held device. These accidents resulted in two fatalities and 185 injuries. The DOT also lists manually operating an electronic device as an accident cause, with 776 accidents falling into this category. These accidents caused five fatalities and 275 injuries. Clearly, texting and driving has impacted the lives of many Arizona residents.
An Unusual State for Texting and Driving Laws
Around the nation, 15 states prohibit all drivers from using hand held cellular phones while driving. 47 states have enacted laws prohibiting texting and driving. Arizona is one of the few states with very little restrictions on texting and driving.
Arizona law prohibits school bus drivers from using a cell phone at any time while driving. Intermediate permit holders under the age of 18 are also prohibited from texting and driving. However, there is no statewide prohibition against adults texting and driving.
The city of Phoenix has enacted a ban on texting and driving within its city limits. Drivers caught texting and driving in Phoenix face a fine between $100 and $250.
Several bills have fallen under consideration and some passed that would ban texting and driving for all drivers in Arizona, but none have yet been signed into law. Drivers should keep an eye out on current laws regarding texting and driving as the possibility exists the law will be changed in the future.
Signs a Driver May Texting and Driving
Distracted drivers often weave from side to side in their lane, even leaving their lane from time to time. A distracted driver may drive at erratic speeds, slowing down and speeding up with no apparent cause. Distracted drivers are also less likely to notice obstacles and hazards in the road in a timely fashion. This can lead to abrupt braking or swerving to avoid an accident at the last moment. If you observe a driver exhibiting any of these signs, it is prudent to give the vehicle more space and keep a close watch to ensure the driver does not drift into your lane.
Are Arizona Drivers Free to Drive While Texting?
While there is no law in Arizona forbidding drivers from texting and driving, that does not necessarily mean drivers are free to text and drive whenever they want. Drivers do have a responsibility to be aware of the traffic conditions around them and to maintain their own lane while driving.
If a driver’s attention becomes distracted while texting and this causes him or her to crash, the accident victim has the right to seek compensation for the damages he or she suffers as a result. All drivers have a duty of care to take reasonable safety precautions while driving.
Evidence of texting and driving may be considered evidence of negligence in the event of an accident. In any injury accident, the victim must establish the driver was negligent and his or her negligence caused the accident. Even though no laws prohibit texting and driving in Arizona, proof of distracted driving may help establish your case the other driver was negligent in causing the accident that led to your injury. A Phoenix car accident lawyer can help you build your case.
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