Your Guide to Arizona’s Distracted Driving Law
Distractions while driving are extremely dangerous. They killed over 3,000 people in 2017 alone according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Regardless of legality, you should do your best to minimize distractions of all types on the road, as even momentary diversions can cause lethal auto accidents. These can range from music and conversations with passengers to handheld devices as well as food or drink. Phones, in particular, are some of the most hazardous diversions for drivers. However, every state has its own definitions and penalties for distracted driving, with Arizona’s law being one of the most lenient by far.
Restrictions and Hands-Free Devices
Arizona’s “hands-off” law prohibits the usage of devices that aren’t hands-free. To be specific, you can’t legally use or support a stand-alone electronic device with your body, which includes leaving it on your lap, resting it on your shoulder, or interacting with it by hand. Mounting your phone somewhere or using an earpiece is the only way you can use a device behind the wheel, and even then, there are restrictions.
In addition, you can never do any of the following while driving:
- Read, write, or send messages through any device.
- Watch or record videos.
- Use social media in any capacity.
- Anything else that causes a distraction and requires the use of your body. This is a general catch-all clause, so don’t try to cheat the law. If something you’re doing could impair your driving, it’s illegal.
Exceptions to the Law
So what can you do? As mentioned earlier, Arizona is somewhat lenient when it comes to distracted driving, and there are a variety of things you can do behind the wheel which are permissible by law.
- Start or end a function on a device. This includes using timers, answering or ending calls (but only with hands-free devices), or using a GPS.
- Take calls with a hands-free device. You can’t take calls by supporting a phone on your shoulder, but if you’re using an earpiece, wrist-mounted device like a smartwatch, or headphones, you can talk all you’d like.
- Use any type of radio or the car’s dashboard. The law doesn’t apply to in-car radios, ham radios, or other common in-vehicle systems for security or remote diagnostics, so change the station all you like.
- Exceptions for emergencies. Emergency responders and people in emergency situations, or who are alerting emergency responders of such a situation, are exempt from distracted driving laws. Prescribed medical devices of any variety are also given a pass.
Remember that you have a responsibility to drive safely. Though these exceptions might be legal in Arizona, it is still advised to avoid them when possible—earpieces and similar hands-free systems are distracting and hazardous, and multitasking only takes your focus away from driving.
Contact an Arizona Auto Accident Attorney
You might understandably be resentful when injured by the poor decision of another driver to drive distracted. The experienced attorneys at Escamilla Law Group can help ensure you receive full compensation for your damages, and handle most of the process on your behalf, giving you time to attend to personal affairs and recover. We can help. Contact us today at (623) 877-3600 to schedule your free consultation.