What Is Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 28-701A?
Speeding is one of the main causes of car accidents throughout the U.S. In 2016, speeding drivers took 10,111 lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Speeding causes more than one-fourth (27%) of all traffic fatalities each year. Disobeying speed limits and traveling faster than what is safe for conditions is against the law; yet thousands of drivers do it every day. Find out what Arizona’s laws say about driving faster than is reasonable and prudent, and how this might affect a car accident claim.
Failure to Control Speed to Avoid an Accident
The Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), Section 28-701A, is the state law that deals with speeding. According to this statute, it is against the law to “drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed higher than what is reasonable and prudent according to the circumstances, conditions, and existing hazards, both actual and potential.” It also states that a driver must remain in control of the speed of the vehicle to avoid colliding with other vehicles, pedestrians, or objects. In other words, a driver is responsible for controlling speeds enough to avoid an accident.
ARS 28-701A makes it mandatory for a driver to control speeds as necessary to comply with legal requirements, or speed limits. However, it also enforces a duty to maintain a speed that allows the driver to exercise “reasonable care for the protection of others.” What is reasonable will depend upon the circumstances. It might be reasonable to travel at 60 miles per hour (MPH) on a clear day, for example, but, during a rainstorm, the reasonable speed might drop to 40 MPH.
Traveling above the speed that is reasonable for conditions could result in a speeding ticket even if the driver was under the maximum speed limit. The speed necessary to avoid an accident will also vary according to the conditions and roadway hazards. It is up to a driver to use his or her best judgment to decide what this speed might be for the situation. If a speeding driver causes an accident, the courts will determine liability based on how fast a reasonable and prudent driver would have been traveling under similar circumstances.
How Fast Is Too Fast?
Although ARS 28-701A leaves “reasonable speed” largely up to the driver’s discretion, the rest of the law gives more specific speed limits in different situations. ARS 28-701B says a driver may be guilty of traveling at an unreasonable speed if he or she exceeds:
- 15 MPH approaching a school zone,
- 25 MPH in a business or residential district, or
- 65 MPH in other locations
Exceeding these speeds in these areas, regardless of conditions, is evidence of a speeding violation.
ARS 28-701D states that drivers must take extra caution controlling their speeds while approaching and going through intersections, passing railroad crossings, traveling around curves, approaching hill crests, traveling on narrow or winding roads, or if special hazards exist (i.e. bad weather, a pothole, or a pedestrian). If a driver causes an accident by traveling too fast according to the language of these statutes, that driver may be liable for resultant damages.
Speeding and Car Accident Claims
Since Arizona is a fault-based car insurance state, it is necessary for accident victims to assign fault before they can file insurance claims. The police or an insurance company may find a driver at-fault if he or she was traveling in excess of a reasonable and prudent speed. Investigators can determine what this speed might have been, based on the conditions present leading up to the collision. Speeding is a common cause of serious car accidents in Arizona, and could lead to an insurance settlement or lawsuit verdict for the victim. Proving that a driver was speeding, and that this was what caused your accident, may take help form an attorney.
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