Are you familiar with Arizona’s law about cellphone use while driving?  It goes into full effect January 1st, 2021. In 2019, Arizona became the 48th state to declare the use of handheld phones illegal, and law enforcement began issuing warnings to those caught driving while using a cellphone or other handheld device.  Don’t get pulled over for doing something you didn’t realize was now illegal!

It’s always good to be reminded of what is and isn’t allowed while driving. The Arizona law states that the driver of a moving vehicle is not allowed to operate a cellphone, tablet, music or gaming device, or other “portable wireless communication device” (including talking on; or texting, reading, or sending  communications), unless that device is being used in a hands-free mode.  The driver must also refrain from using his or her body to support the device, such as perching a cellphone on his or her shoulder.  Using a device in hands-free mode is acceptable and making calls to 911 regarding emergencies or the reporting of crimes.  You can only use any electronic device for Navigation purposes if it is done hands free or when you are stopped at a red light or a rail road crossing.

Beginning January 1st of the 2021, initial violations carry a penalty of a $75 – $149 fine, and for subsequent violations, the fine will be $150 – $250.  If a driver causes injury or death to someone else while driving and using a cellphone, there are more serious penalties that will apply. Law enforcement can pull a driver over for cellphone (or other portable electronic device) use only, because it will now be a primary violation: breaking the law, but they cannot take possession of that device or inspect it.  Many of Arizona’s cities already have similar laws in effect, but the state law will replace those at the beginning of 2021.  Any violation will be reported to motor vehicle, however, a violation will not be used to suspend driving privileges but could affect insurance rates

Driving while distracted can have disastrous results, and the law was created to increase safety on the roads of Arizona.  Remember to drive safely and pay attention to the road. If you have questions about this new law or need assistance, please call 602-285-4664.