Arizona roads will get a little stricter in as a new state-wide bill that takes effect in 2021 will ban the use of handheld phones while driving a vehicle. Several cities already have their version of the law, but 2021 will see the enforcement of the ban throughout the state. Add this to state’s already strict laws regarding DUIs, and you’ll have one of the most stringent laws road regulations in the nation.
By 2021 any use of a handheld phone whether it be talking, texting, or browsing will be illegal when driving a vehicle. Even propping a phone with your shoulder as you speak will be considered a violation. Your focus must be solely on the road, so recording or watching videos are not allowed. You can still use your phone by using an earpiece or by waiting until you stop at a red light. The law doesn’t prevent you from making simple swipes to answer or reject calls, and it allows the activation and use of your phone’s GPS function as long as you keep your eyes on the road. In case of emergencies, you can freely dial your phone and use it to call emergency services (911). While the law doesn’t have teeth at the moment (unless you’re driving in one of the cities that have already enacted specific phone prohibitions), officers can still stop you and give you a verbal warning. Once the law is adopted by January 2021, you can be fined from $75-$149 on your first offense and $150-$250 on subsequent violations.
A DUI conviction in Arizona comes with a lot of problems and can cost you more than $2,000 in fines. The state usually charges $1,500 in fines, but this number can go up to $2,500 depending on the circumstances of your arrest. A DUI arrest also guarantees a short stint in prison (usually 1-10 days), and that short stay will cost you an additional $1,000 for the prison construction fund and the general fund. You’ll need to dish out another $250 for your DUI assessment, and you will be required to attend counseling sessions. Your license will get either get suspended for 90 days or one whole year. If you want to continue driving, you’ll need to switch to SR-22 insurance and install an interlock device on every vehicle you can drive.
No Meds or Weed
If you’re taking medication or using medical (or recreational) hemp, it’s better to take an Uber or a Lyft than risk getting a DUI charge. Police officers that notice any sign of impaired driving can flag you down, order you to perform a field sobriety test, or even take a blood sample. Once you’re flagged and your blood test comes up positive for any trace of medication or marijuana, it’s an immediate DUI charge.
The strict Arizona road rules just got a little bit stricter. However, the state’s road rules are meant to save lives — yours and those of the people on the road around you.