Cellphones and Driving: How the New Ban Is Impacting Arizona
A new texting-while-driving ban has been passed in Arizona and took effect on January 1st, 2021. While some cities in Arizona have already issued cellphone bans in the past, this new law is meant to focus on the state as a whole, to push for safer roads. Distracted driving is a serious issue on the roadways across America, and especially in Arizona itself. The law is already having a major impact on the community.
Distracted Driving and Its Victims
Up until this law was passed, Arizona had lax laws on cellphone use while driving. This made the roads and highways extremely dangerous, as distracted drivers on their phones were free to look away from the road for as long as they pleased. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), in the most recent year that statistics were available, there were an astounding 129,750 car accidents in the state. From those accidents, one person was killed every 8 hours and 56 minutes, meaning there were over two deaths every single day.
This has been the trend in Arizona for years now, and lawmakers knew it was time to act. However, it took several more tragedies to get the law passed. It was not until activists and organizations like Drive Smart Arizona (DSA), which hosted Mark Breyer as a speaker at the Distracted Driving Summit, stood up for Arizona drivers that lawmakers finally passed the ban, which went into effect on January 1, 2021. Hopefully, this new law will begin to lower the car accident numbers in Arizona and lead to a safer state.
In preparation for the law to take effect, the Arizona Department of Safety threw itself into educating drivers on the dangers of using a cellphone on the road, as well as what will and will not be permitted by the new law. The department has been holding classes and handing out pamphlets with the relevant rules that local drivers need to be aware of. For the full set of rules, you can visit the department’s website here.
Taking the time to educate drivers was a crucial step leading up to the ban being enforced. Without these efforts, some drivers would be left in the dark until they were suddenly pulled over and fined for a law they weren’t even aware of. The Arizona Department of Safety took a great deal of time leading up to January 1st to make sure all Arizona locals know that the laws around cellphone use are changing.
How the New Laws Are Impacting Arizona
That being said, drivers didn’t have to wait until January to feel the effects of the new law. While no fines were issued until the law went into effect, police officers started pulling over people who were caught using their cellphones while driving. After being pulled over, drivers were warned of the upcoming ban, and given a pamphlet on the new rules around driving and cellphone use.
According to KTAR News, Arizona police already pulled over 15,000 people who were using their cellphones while driving. Again, none of these people ended up facing fines, but they were warned that come January 1, they would be.
Now, with the ban finally in effect, breaking the law will result in a fine of $75 to $149. Given how the law has been worded, fighting the ticket in court will be a very difficult process. There is little ambiguity around what is and what is not allowed. Even just holding a cellphone in your hand while driving can be considered a violation of the law, whether or not you were using, or even looking at, the device.
The hope with this new, strict rule is that distracted driving in Arizona will drop, and so will the number of collisions. However, no law can eliminate all distracted driving.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, then you deserve proper compensation. To find out more about your legal options, call our firm, Breyer Law Offices, P.C., at (602) 267-1280. We have a team of top car accident attorneys ready to help!
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