In the last week, Arizona has moved forward with banning the use of cellphones while driving. The bill, which went statewide, was signed by Governor Doug Ducey on April 22nd. While this bill has been signed recently, people will not start being ticketed until January 1, 2021.
By delaying issuing fines for this new bill, they are hoping residents will take the time to learn the new law.
While this is a statewide ban, there are several cities that enacted some form of text and driving prohibitions to keep people safe on the road. Some of these cities include Phoenix, Tempe, El Mirage, Glendale, Surprise, Fountain Hills, and Salt River Pima.
If you live in any one of these cities, you may still face consequences for texting and driving, even though the statewide bill hasn’t gone into effect.
Here’s what you need to know about the new texting and driving laws. Pay attention to the rules or there could be serious consequences.
Hands-Free Talking Only
In the bill, it specifically prohibits people from using their phone in any manner while driving unless it is hands-free.
Things you CANNOT do with your phone while driving:
- Holding the phone in any way, which also includes holding the phone with your shoulder.
- Texting or messaging of any kind while driving, including emails, texts, Facebook, and anything text-based.
- Watching or recording videos.
Things you CAN do with your phone while driving:
- Swipe to accept or decline a phone call
- Speak if using a hands-free device like a Bluetooth earpiece.
- Use the talk to text function
- Use a GPS system to navigate your route.
- Use to call 911 in case of an emergency
- Use when at a stop light or in traffic.
The texting and driving law doesn’t only apply to the use of mobile devices, but any handheld device that could be deemed as a distraction while driving. But the law doesn’t exclude the use of certain radios like ham radios, citizen ban radios, subscription-based emergency communication devices, commercials two-way radios, prescribed medical devices, and more.
What Are the Consequences for Texting an Driving?
Even though the law won’t go into effect in 2021, Arizona driver’s should still be aware of the consequences of driving and using their mobile devices. First-time offenders may get tickets between $75 and $149 while repeat offenders could suffer a fine of up to $250.
Please be noted that an officer is not allowed to take your cellular device from you if they pull you over for texting and driving.
Governor Ducey signing this bill has left only two other states in the US without texting and driving laws of some nature, Missouri and Montana. Arizona and 16 other states have banned all use of cellphones while driving.
What You Can Do To Avoid Fines and Stay Safe on the Road?
We realize that your phone keeps you connected to the ones you love and allows you to be available at all times in the event of an emergency. To reduce the amount of distraction you experience as a driver, we recommend the following:
- Putting your phone on silent mode so you’re not inclined to be distracted by phone calls.
- Keep your phone from arm’s reach so you’re not tempted to text and drive.
- If you have an important phone call or text to make, pull over to a safe location and make to call or send the text.
- If you have a passenger in the car with you, have them answer your calls an texts for you.
- Make sure you start your GPS route or start playing your music before you start driving
If You Have Been Fined and Need Help
If you are currently facing a fine for texting and driving in one of the Arizona cities who have banned texting and driving, we recommend getting in touch with an attorney immediately to represent your case.