We need your full attention for a few minutes, please. We want to talk about the dangers of distracted driving.
Now, you might be tempted to tune us out. After all, everyone knows distracted driving is dangerous.
Blah, blah, blah. Yada, yada, yada.
But this topic has an added level of importance because the distracted driving laws in Arizona underwent a change at the beginning of 2021. Let’s take a look at the law.
Arizona’s Hands-Off Law
As of January 1, 2021, it is illegal in Arizona to use any stand-alone electronic device (including phones, tablets, music players, gaming devices, and the like) while operating a vehicle unless that device is operating in a hands-free mode. This statewide ban replaces 26 local ordinances from around the state, making the rules consistent from border to border.
Key details of the law include:
- Texting is now a primary offense, which means a police officer can pull you over if they spot you texting while driving. The law prohibits reading, writing, or sending messages while driving.
- The law prohibits hold or supporting any electronic device with your body—which means you can’t hold a device in your hand or use your shoulder to hold your phone to your ear.
- Generally, any activity that takes your eyes off the road—scrolling through social media, watching videos, etc.—is prohibited by the law.
- Penalties include a fine of $75 to $149 for a first offense and a fine of $150 to $250 for subsequent offenses. If you cause an accident resulting in serious injury or death because you were driving while distracted, you could face up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Electronic Devices Are Far From the Only Distractions for Drivers
While the Hands-Off Law is focused on electronic devices, those devices are hardly the only things that can lead to distracted driving. Other common distractions include:
- Eating and/or drinking while driving
- Focusing on a GPS device too intently
- Operating the radio or even just getting swept up in the music or other content including news programming, sports broadcasts, or audiobooks
- Conversations with passengers—or distracting conversations among your passengers even if you are not directly involved
- Simple daydreaming that causes your attention to wander from the road
Car Crashes and Their Consequences Can Be Severe
Imagine you are driving down the highway at 55 miles per hour. Now, imagine that you let something distract you for five seconds. That’s not very long, right?
Maybe not, but at that speed, your car will travel the length of a football field in those five seconds. That’s a long way and plenty of things can happen over the course of that distance. A car or truck could come to a sudden stop in front of you. You could fail to see and navigate a curve in the road. You might not spot an obstacle like a pothole, construction equipment, or an animal that runs into your path.
Remember, you are traveling 55 miles an hour, so if you crash, the impact is going to be substantial. The resulting injuries—to you or to others—are likely to be severe. They may include internal injuries, broken bones, injuries to the spinal cord, traumatic brain injuries, and, of course, death.
Five seconds of inattention while behind the wheel can easily lead to a lifetime of negative impacts.
If You Are Hurt by a Distracted Driver, You Need Legal Representation
Of course, you may be wholly committed to keeping your attention in the right place while you are driving. But someone else might not be as committed to avoiding distractions. And that person may very well cause an accident in which you are injured.
If that happens, what should you do? Well, first things first: Get any and all necessary medical attention. And then get in touch with a lawyer who can help ensure that you are properly compensated for any injuries you have sustained and for any future losses that may result from those injuries.
We Won’t Be Distracted From Helping You. Contact Our Flagstaff Car Accident Attorneys.
The lawyers of Griffen & Stevens simply cannot be distracted when it comes to helping our clients. If you have been hurt in a crash involving a distracted driver, you can count on us to fully investigate and to pursue all of the damages to which you are entitled. Contact us today for a free consultation.