Arizona’s Cell Phone Ban – What You Need to Know

At any given daylight moment, more than 600,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving on America’s roads. Known as distracted driving, cell phone use is dangerous driver behavior that claimed 3,166 lives in 2017. 
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts attention away from driving. A form of negligence, any driver that harms another due to distracted negligence is liable for their actions. If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving crash, the dedicated auto accident attorneys at Sweet James can help. From recovering compensation for your medical bills to obtaining you a settlement for pain and suffering, auto accident attorney Sweet James holds distracted drivers responsible, receiving justice for victims of Arizona distracted driving accidents. 
Besides making negligent drivers liable, what else is being done to put an end to Arizona’s distracted driving accidents? Here is everything you need to know about Arizona’s cell phone ban: 

Arizona’s Cell Phone Ban

As the 48th state to ban cell phone use while driving, Arizona is late to the game. Previous efforts to make Arizona roads safer failed and proposed bills did not pass. Because of this, distracted driving is a major issue in the state, causing an estimated 25% of Arizona auto accidents. 
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (AZDOT), someone dies every 8 hours and 39 minutes in an Arizona traffic accident. In an effort to curb these shocking numbers, the state government has put a cell phone ban into law. The law is expected to save lives, as statistics show that states who employ hands-free cell phone laws experience 16% traffic accident fatalities – far less than Arizona. 
While most of the provisions of Arizona’s cell phone ban are already in effect due to an emergency clause, the outright ban on hand-held cell phones will not be enforced until January 2021. As a result, until the statewide ban takes effect, local laws regarding cell phones will be enforced by every city. 

What You Need To Know About Arizona’s Cell Phone Ban

  • The ban doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2021. 
  • Starting in 2021, drivers are fined for holding a cell phone while operating any vehicle. 
  • The only exception to this ban is if the vehicle is stopped at a red light or parked. 
  • While the act of using a cell phone is technically illegal in Arizona right now, place can only issue warnings until 2021. 
  • A car-mounted cell phone can still be used for navigation or talking, as long as its in hands-free mode. 
  • The ban encompasses: texting, talking, looking at a map, using the internet, watching videos, taking photos – anything involving using a cell phone with your hands. 
  • A driver can be pulled over and fined for even just holding their phone. This ban is strict. 
  • A driver’s violation of Arizona’s cell phone ban will earn them an initial fine of up to $149. Subsequent violations can reach $250. 
  • Arizona cell phone ban tickets will not put points on a driver’s record. 
  • Any truck driver in violation of Arizona’s cell phone ban may temporarily lose their commercial license. 
  • Any driver who causes a distracted driving accident while using a cell phone can be charged with a misdemeanor, getting them a punishment of a six-month jail sentence, suspended license, and a restitution fee of up to $100,000. 
  • Over 24 Arizona cities have cell phone bans currently in place. However, these bans can continue to be governed by each individual city until January 1, 2021. After, all local laws regarding hand-held cell phone use are dissolved and state law takes effect. 

Am I Allowed To Use A Cell Phone At All While Driving? 

Here is what you are, and are not, allowed to do while driving in Arizona, taken straight from the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) website: 
“It is illegal in Arizona to talk or text on a cell phone while driving unless the device is in a hands-free mode.”
It will be against the law, while driving, to: 

  • Hold or support a device with your body.
    • This includes, but is not limited to, in your hands and perched on your shoulder.
  • Read, write or send a message via any portable wireless communication device.
  • Scroll through social media, watch videos, record videos, or any other use of the device that causes a distraction and requires use of your body.

You are allowed to: 

  • To engage and disengage a function on the device such as GPS route start and answering or ending a call.
  • Talk on the portable wireless communication device with an earpiece, headphone device, or device worn on the wrist to conduct a voice-based communication.
  • Use a device for navigation of the vehicle.
  • Use a device in an emergency situation to summon help or report a crime. 

The AZDPS states: “There are exceptions to the law, including emergency responders, people in an emergency situation or alerting first responders to an emergency situation or crime. Additionally, the law does not apply to radios, citizen band radio, citizens band radio hybrid, commercial two-way radios, subscription-based emergency communication devices, prescribed medical devices, amateur or ham radio devices, or in-vehicle security, navigation or remote diagnostics systems.”
For more information on Arizona’s cell phone ban, visit For help after a distracted driving accident, contact auto accident attorney Sweet James here

Distracted Driving Accidents

According to the NHTSA, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
Distracted driving claimed the lives of over three-thousand people in fatal 2017 motor vehicle accidents. 297 people died in auto accidents involving a distracted teen. 

Arizona Distracted Driving Attorney 

Every driver has a duty of care while on the road to follow the law and do no harm. As a result, if cell phone use causes an accident, the responsible party should be held liable for any negligent damage.
From medical bills to insurance claims, Arizona distracted driving attorney Sweet James is here to help. His skilled team of personal injury attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you need to recover in full. Above all, our team is here to help you during this difficult time. Contact them today for a free consultation. 


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