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Operating your vehicle while distracted in Arizona?

That could cost you.

Distracted driving is a major problem in Arizona, resulting in major injuries and fatalities each year, not to mention the property damage that occurs. However, receiving a fine will depend on the nature of the distraction. Arizona law does have specific fines associated with violations of the hands-free law, which pertains to mobile devices.

What is the Fine for Distracted Driving in Arizona?

Fines for Distracted Driving in Arizona

According to Arizona’s hands-free law (A.R.S. § 28-914), fines for distracted driving while using a handheld mobile device are as follows:

  • First violation: A fine ranging from $75 to $149.
  • Subsequent violations: A fine ranging from $150 to $250.

These fines may increase if additional violations occur within a short period. The fines reflect the seriousness of using handheld devices while driving. They are intended to deter this dangerous behavior. 

Understanding Arizona’s Hands-Free Law

Arizona’s hands-free law, which took full effect in 2021, prohibits drivers from holding or using handheld electronic devices while operating a vehicle. The main aspects of the law include:

  • Prohibitions. The law prohibits drivers from holding a phone to talk, text, or browse. It also includes any video watching or gaming while driving.
  • Exceptions. Drivers may use devices in hands-free mode (Bluetooth headsets, dashboard mounts). Emergency workers, law enforcement, and utility personnel have exemptions for job-related use.
  • Scope. The law applies when the vehicle is in motion. Using a device while safely parked is not considered a violation.

Other Consequences of Distracted Driving

In addition to fines, drivers should be aware of the other potential consequences of distracted driving:

  1. Vehicle accidents and injuries. Studies show that distracted driving does increases the likelihood of accidents. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to cause a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These accidents can result in catastrophic injuries or death for the driver, passengers, and others.
  2. Insurance premium increases. Getting a ticket for distracted driving can raise insurance premiums due to the increased risk profile. Some insurance carriers may charge hundreds of extra dollars annually for higher-risk drivers. Insurance carriers will automatically know about any ticket you receive, so even if you do not personally let them know, your insurance premiums could go up.
  3. Legal liability. Drivers found to be at fault in an accident while distracted may face civil lawsuits for the damage caused. This could lead to significant financial consequences if the injured parties file claims for medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.

What Happens After an Accident Caused by Distracted Driving?

If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the actions of a distracted driver in Phoenix or anywhere else throughout Arizona, reach out to an attorney for help as soon as possible. Unfortunately, distracted driving accident claims can be challenging, particularly for those without much legal experience. Insurance carriers can twist stories and try to shift fault in order to limit how much compensation they pay out. A car accident lawyer in Phoenix can walk you through the process of recovering compensation and help you every step of the way.