We know that texting while driving is dangerous and inadvisable. That said, if a police officer alleges that you were texting while driving, you’ll want to know what law, if any, prohibits you from doing so.
State vs Local Texting While Driving Laws in AZ
Currently, there is no statewide, universal ban on texting in Arizona. This may change, as more and more states vote to ban texting while driving.
However, every county has its own specific regulations. The Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff metro areas have banned texting while driving. Therefore, the legality of texting while driving depends partly on where you are located.
Texting vs Distracted Driving
Lawmakers who oppose texting bans aren’t necessarily encouraging people to text and drive. Rather, they argue that existing distracted driving laws cover a wide range of activities. Yesterday’s fiddling with the cassette player is today’s fiddling with a music app on your smartphone. Either way, distracted driving is illegal.
At this time, the officer who pulls you over determines whether or not you appear distracted while driving. If they notice you are swerving, drifting between multiple lanes or struggling with other basic maneuvers, there’s a good chance you’ll be cited.
Exceptions for New Drivers and Bus Drivers
Recently, Arizona state lawmakers banned texting while driving among teens and new drivers. The ban would be in effect for six months, starting when you get your license. Using a mobile device would be a secondary offense. That means police cannot simply pull you over for looking young and having a phone out. They can only tack texting while driving charges onto the primary offense (such as speeding or running a red light).
Bus drivers are also subject to a ban on texting while driving throughout the state.
If you are facing a citation or traffic-related criminal charges, Pinnacle Law can help make sense of the list of violations and penalties. Call us for a consultation.