Arizona Cellphone Laws
There is an ‘i’ in ‘iPhone,' and an ‘i’ in 'Android', and even an 'i' in ‘drive,' but in some cities, including Tucson, Phoenix, Tempe, and Flagstaff, there is also an ‘i’ in ‘fine,' since these places have enacted a ban on texting while driving. Pima and Coconino counties also have a hands-free ordinance in place. Today, we’re going to talk about cellphone and driving laws in Arizona cities and counties because you need to know where you stand legally if you own a cellphone and drive.
Arizona was one of the few states which didn’t have a texting-while-driving ban for a couple of reasons. (The exception is school bus drivers.) First, because the irresponsible use of cell phones is covered under other driving laws. Second, because lawmakers eschewed having ever-more legislation for something which is already legislated. In spite of this, the use of cell phones in motor vehicles comes up nearly every legislative session.
Tucson is the newcomer
Tucson's law, which goes into effect May 1, extends to using a cellphone without a hands-free device while driving. The first offense fine is $250, which jumps to $500 on the second offense and $2500 if the driver is involved in an accident. While a cop won’t pull you over for merely using a cell phone, they can ticket a driver if they’re pulled over for another offense. (Tail light burned out? Cracked windshield?)
Governor Doug Ducey recently signed a statewide ban on drivers with a learner’s permit and those with a license less than six months old from using a cellphone while driving. While the governor doesn’t believe a blanket ban would be useful, he hopes that the law will serve as a teaching tool for new drivers.
What is distracted driving?
‘Distracted driving’ is the five-second rule as it applies to anything that takes your eyes and one hand off the road for more than five seconds, including adjusting the radio, managing food spills, grooming, and your iPhone.
What about using an iPhone for maps and directions?
As long as the ‘map app’ doesn’t distract an adult driver’s eyes or hands from the road for more than five seconds, the use of these apps is okay. The important thing to remember is that they aren’t illegal to use, they’re only illegal to use if it can’t be done safely. In a moving car, five seconds is an eternity, or about the same amount of time it takes to turn your Honda Accord into a Peterbilt hood ornament.
For $24, you can pick up a six-hour Jabra Bluetooth earpiece at Staples.
An even more popular Bluetooth headset with 12 hours of talk time is available for between $19 and $27 at Amazon. While this is strictly for talking and not music, the reviews are outstanding.
If 12 hours are not enough between charges, a 30-hour version of the Bluetooth headset is offered for $50.
Here is a Pashion Stereo wireless Bluetooth for those who want to be able to hear music. (Caution: the sound level should be low enough to be still able to hear a siren or the sound of your fan belt snapping.) Although they’re a mere $38, some users report that they are easily the best piece of audio equipment they own.
Knowing the local laws about using your iPhone while driving can not only prevent you from getting a fine, but it could save your life. Because there is also an ‘i’ in ‘wise.' :)
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