On April 18, 2019 Governor Ducey signed HB 2318. This is the first Distracted Driving bill passed for the state of Arizona.
When you drive down the road and you see someone going slower than everyone else, it’s likely what you’ll see as you pass by – a distracted driver on their cell phone. What’s more is that one out of every four accidents in Arizona are caused by cell phone use. This statistic helps us understand that texting and driving is six times more dangerous than driving under the influence.
Distracted driving is harmful. This law has been a long time coming for Arizona.
What does it mean for you?
You cannot use your body to hold or support any device used to initiate or receive communication.
First thing to note here are the words “any device used to initiate or receive communication.” This law is not limited to cell phones. This implicates smart watches, GPS and more. In addition, one hand on the wheel and one hand holding your cell phone? No go! This also includes engaging with a device on your lap or mounted on your car’s dash. The only way you can employ these devices is with your voice. The reason for this hard and fast line is to remove any debate between you and law enforcement. Lawmakers do not want police officers pulling citizens over just to have the potential perpetrator use crafty language to escape the crime. If a law enforcement official witnesses you engage with a communication device while driving you could be cited. This will keep us safer!
PRO TIP – You do NOT have to turn over your cell phone to law enforcement if you are pulled over. If a police officer asks to see your phone to validate if you were using it to communicate, you do not have to turn it over to them.
You can use your voice!
I get it; using your phone while driving sometimes feels necessary. So, what can you do to communicate while driving? Use your voice. You are allowed to use a bluetooth enabled device to take and make phone calls. You are also allowed to use voice controls to send and receive text messages. Take advantage of Siri, CarPlay and other technologies that allow for voice control. These allow you to safely communicate legally while driving.
PRO TIP – Do you find yourself instinctively reaching for you mobile device when a notification comes through? Don’t feel bad. Devices are designed to make you do this. To keep from reaching for your device in the car, try placing your cell phone in a glovebox or center console with a lid. That extra step of opening a box could make you think twice before engaging.
This law has been a long time coming. I applaud our state government for making this happen and continuing to keep our community safe. If you have more questions about this House bill you may find answers to them at this AZfamily.com web page.