Arizona just joined the other 48 states with laws limiting or preventing cell phone use while driving. Today, only the state of Montana has no law prohibiting texting or calls while driving.
Arizona’s new law is not as restrictive as many other state laws, but it does have important implications for Arizona drivers and visitors. The law applies specifically to teen drivers. It also will have implications on legal cases involving accidents caused by teens who were using their phones during an accident.
Let’s take a look at the basics of Arizona’s new teen driver cell phone law and discuss how it might apply to you or your teenager.
The Basics of Arizona’s New Cell Phone Law
The law applies specifically to new drivers between the ages of 15-½ and 18 years of age. It prohibits the use of a cell phone while driving except for a “specific emergency situation” or to listen to “audible turn-by-turn navigation” (a maps app).
Similar to previously enacted laws for teen drivers, the new law makes teen drivers subject to “secondary enforcement.” This means that a teen can’t be pulled over or cited simply for being seen using a cell phone while driving. Instead, the new law requires that a teen first be pulled over for another violation before an officer can cite them for use of their cell phone.
Additionally, if a teen receives no citations for cell phone use, nighttime driving, or additional passengers for six months, the new law no longer affects them.
By every measure, this is a relatively unrestrictive new law. However, it does carry some penalties for violation.
- A first violation is subject to a maximum fine of $75 plus a 30-day extension of the six-month period.
- A second violation is subject to a maximum fine of $100 plus a 60-day extension of the six-month period.
- Three or more violations are subject to a fine of up to $100 plus a 30-day license suspension.
Why Does the Law Only Apply to Teens?
Arizona lawmakers have made several attempts to introduce more stringent laws for using cell phones while driving. So far, all of these have been unsuccessful. However, the case for a law specifically addressing teens received much more widespread support.
Considering the statistics for vehicle accidents involving teens, it’s not a surprise the new law was finally enacted.
A study on car accident conducted by AAA, drivers aged 16-to-19 have the highest crash rate of any drivers in the United States.
- 59 percent of crashes with a teen driver involved some kind of distracting behavior in the six seconds leading up to the accident
- 12 percent of crashes involved teens using cell phones while driving
What if a Distracted Teen Driver Hits Your Vehicle?
If a teenager causes an accident with you most especially if it’s a head-on collision, it is important to know if he was using a cell phone illegally before or during the crash. Was the use of the cell phone a factor in causing the accident? Could the accident have been prevented if the teen had not been using a cell phone in the seconds leading up to the accident?
All of these details can have an important impact on your attempts to receive just compensation from the teenager for your injuries. This is true whether or not your case goes to court.
If you are the victim of a vehicle crash caused by a teen using a cell phone, you need a lawyer to help ensure you are fully represented. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the better. Once you hire us to represent you, we will work with you and behind the scenes on your behalf. Whether or not your case ultimately goes to court, we will treat every detail as if it will. By doing this, we can ensure you get the maximum compensation available under Arizona law.
For example, we will work to ensure you receive the proper medical attention and interim relief such as a rental car and negotiating on your behalf with insurance companies.
We also will go over every detail in the accident report to find any missing or inaccurate information. In the case of an accident involving an at-fault teen driver, we are going to look specifically at whether the teen was cited for use of a cell phone or not. If not, we may conduct additional research to determine whether a cell phone was, in fact, a contributing factor in the accident.
Important to Know
Our legal team at Petersen Johnson works on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless we are successful in recovering funds for you either in a settlement or in a court verdict. Knowing all of the facts in your case and correcting the police record where there may be errors is an important part of what we do to represent you.
If you’ve been the victim of a vehicle crash with a teenager using a cell phone, we are ready to represent you. Please contact us immediately for a free consultation. The sooner we get to work on your case, the better we can represent your rights.