As of 2019, Arizona has over 5.4 million registered drivers, and this number has been steadily increasing over the last decade. Between people visiting or relocating to the state, more vehicles on the road mean there is a greater risk for traffic jams and roadway incidents. To ensure the safety of all drivers, here are the top six essential laws everyone should know.
1. Wear a Seat Belt
Like most states, Arizona requires that all passengers in the front seat of the vehicle wear a seat belt. The driver must also ensure that all child passengers (younger than 16) wear a seat belt and are in an appropriate car seat. Regarding car/booster seat laws, all children aged 8 and younger who are shorter than 4 feet, 9 inches must use the proper safety restraint for their size.
2. The “Move Over” Law
Emergency vehicles take precedence on the road over others. As such, Arizona requires that all drivers "move over" to another lane when being approached by an emergency vehicle with its lights on or when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle or personnel. If it is not possible to move to another lane due to it being a one-way road or another reason, drivers must reduce their speed and proceed with caution to ensure the safety of all individuals.
3. Don’t Leave Animals or Kids in Cars
Did you know that a parked car's interior can be over 40 degrees hotter than the outdoor temperature after sitting for an hour? In Arizona, where extreme temperatures are common during certain times of the year, being in a vehicle with no air conditioning can be deadly. This is why the state implemented a good samaritan law allowing individuals to forcibly remove an animal or child from any potentially overheating car.
Passed in 2017, HB 2494 also removes the risk of civil liability from those who must damage a vehicle (i.e., break a window) to rescue a child or animal.
4. Don’t Text While Driving
With the growing concern of cellphone use-related crashes every year, it's important to remind everyone that Arizona has a strict "hands-free" policy. This means that no driver can manually use a cellular device to talk, text, check emails, or any other action that removes their hand from the steering wheel. However, there are a few exceptions; drivers are permitted to use their phones:
- For navigation purposes
- When making emergency 911 calls
- To start or end a phone call
The safest option will always be to store your phone until you have reached your destination or to pull over if you need to use it.
5. Left Lane is Only for Passing
The left lane has long been considered the passing lane, but few states implement laws that require drivers to not impede this lane if not using it for its intended purpose. Arizona, however, restricts the use of the left lane on multi-lane highways to only drivers who are passing. By law, drivers in this lane must move faster than those in the right lanes.
This law has been in place for a few years, but thousands of drivers have still received tickets throughout the state for not obeying it. Remember, you can receive a $50 fine for impeding the left lane, so it's best to avoid it.
6. “Stupid Motorist” Law
Arizona's "Stupid Motorist" law was passed in 1995 to deter drivers from entering flooded areas and becoming stranded. Under this law, if a driver disobeys posted flood warning signs and drives around a barricade, they are financially responsible for the cost of emergency services being called to recover their vehicle. Although this law is rarely enforced, drivers should still keep their safety at the top of their minds when driving—especially during the time of year when monsoons are most likely.
Learn More: What To Do When Driving in a Monsoon
Mesa Car Accident Attorneys
Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC has dedicated our practice to helping injured individuals throughout Arizona seek justice. We’ve helped thousands of clients recover millions of dollars in compensation and are committed to helping you get back on your feet. Schedule a free consultation with our team today by calling (480) 999-9181.