At Torgenson Law, we have long professed that no one should be using his or her cellphone while driving. Distracted driving is one of the primary contributors to the rising number of motor vehicle crashes and fatalities in this state. Of course, this should not come as a surprise as our society becomes more and more dependent on the accessibility afforded by today’s smartphones. Texting, surfing the web, navigation, and connecting with friends on social media is all at our fingertips. However, every fraction of a second that you are looking at your phone while driving only increases the risk that you might harm yourself or others on the roadway.
In recognition of the dangers of distracted driving, Arizona lawmakers have taken action to reduce the use of handheld electronic devices in vehicles. On April 22, 2019, Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill that enacted a statewide ban on cellphone usage while driving. This law does not only apply to cellphones, but to any type of portable wireless device. Under the law, a portable wireless device is defined as a cellular telephone, portable telephone, a text-messaging device, a personal digital assistant, a stand-alone computer, and even a portable GPS system that is not docked to the vehicle. The new law is broad enough to the point where even touching your cellphone or resting it on your body while you are driving could be deemed a violation. So, if you absolutely must use your phone while in your vehicle, make sure you are parked or stopped at a red light.
Now, the new law will not go into effect until January 1, 2021. However, police officers will immediately be permitted to give warnings to those in violation of the cellphone ban. Once the law goes into effect, violators can be fined up to $149 for a first offense and $250 for subsequent violations. While these measures may seem extreme to many, prior to this new law, Arizona was one of only three states to not have at least some form of cellphone restrictions. In other states, such laws have been shown to substantially decrease traffic fatalities and incidents.
At Torgenson Law, your safety and well being is what matters most. It should not take legislation to inform you of the importance avoiding distractions while driving. With that said, as Arizona Injury Lawyers, we know that people sometimes make mistakes that cause injuries. If you or a loved one is injured in a motor vehicle crash, call Torgenson Law at (602) 759-0012.
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