Is It Illegal to Drive While Distracted?
Driving while distracted is something we all strive to avoid, yet many motorists unknowingly drive distracted anyway or willingly focus on small distractions with the assumption that they’ll be fine. Distracted driving accidents kill 3,000 people every year, which raises the key question: is it illegal to drive while distracted? The answer varies, as all types of distractions while driving are unsafe, but only some are explicitly illegal.
What Distractions Are and Aren’t Illegal
All types of distractions can be prosecuted as a form of reckless driving in Arizona, even if no specific charge exists for the type of distracted driving you engage in. Furthermore, if you cause an accident due to your own inattention, you’ll shoulder the vast majority of liability, making you financially responsible for the other party’s damages as well as your own. In terms of technical prohibitions, however, Arizona’s texting and driving laws define the only forms of distractions that are explicitly illegal, being:
- Supporting a device with your body while driving, whether you do so with your hands, legs, or by tucking it between your shoulder and head, is illegal. Using hands-free devices such as earpieces, however, is permissible.
- Reading, writing, or sending a message of any variety while driving is illegal. “Messages” include texts, social media posts, videos, and similar communication that would take your eyes off the road.
However, just because a distraction isn’t technically illegal, doesn’t mean it’s safe. Anything that occupies your hands, eyes, or mind for any period of time directly impairs your ability to drive, no matter how experienced a motorist you are and no matter how many times you’ve driven distracted before. Don’t risk it. These types of distractions aren’t illegal on their own, but will drastically increase your odds of getting into an Arizona auto accident and being unable to receive compensation for your damages:
- Making and taking calls isn’t illegal under Arizona’s motorist device laws, but is distracting nonetheless. Similarly, talking to passengers also takes your mind off of the imminent task of driving.
- Eating and drinking while driving is a common activity for busy commuters, but you should always be pulling over to have your meal or waiting until you arrive at your destination.
- Configuring devices in your vehicle is a deceptively easy way to take your mind, hands, and eyes off of the road all at once. You should be using the radio and GPS systems responsibly, preferably while the vehicle is stopped.
Distracted Driving Accidents in Arizona
If you’ve been hurt in a crash because another driver negligently chose to distract themselves while operating a dangerous vehicle, you deserve extensive compensation. A good lawyer can help you prove that distracted driving occurred, so give us a call today at (623) 877-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Arizona auto accident attorney today. ELG has extensive experience with these types of accidents, so we can conduct a thorough investigation on your behalf, giving you the time and peace of mind necessary to focus on your recovery and the support of your loved ones.