Whether you’re just passing through the state on I-10 through Phoenix or simply driving to work down W. Cushing in Tucson’s Barrio Historico, a recent report from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) suggests you may have one of the most statistically dangerous rides in the entire country.
Ratings were made based on a list of 15 desirable safety laws recommended by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. Arizona has only four of them and thus earns one of the lowest rankings in the country.
Arizona Highways: Good Laws
Our state has laws relating to:
- Six-month teen probation period
- Ignition interlocks
- Impaired driving/child endangerment
- Open container law.
Arizona: Laws Missing-in-Action
Our state does not have these laws:
- Primary seat belt enforcement, front
- Primary seat belt enforcement, rear
- All-rider motorcycle helmet
- Booster seat law
- Minimum age 16 for learners
- Teen supervised driving
- Teen nighttime restrictions
- Teen passenger restrictions
- Teen cell phone restrictions
- Age 18 unrestricted license
- All-ages text-messaging restrictions.
Pick One: Convenience or Common Sense?
Texting while driving tends to put convenience over common sense and safety: The Huffington Post reports that while 98 percent of adults recognize texting while driving as dangerous, 49 percent admit to doing so. The Huffington Post has compiled statistics to show the danger of distracted driving:
- Nine Americans killed every day from motor vehicle accidents that involved distracted driving, such as using a cellphone, texting or eating.
- Twenty-five percent probability that a motor vehicle crash involved a cellphone.
- Forty percent of teens say they have been a passenger in a car whose driver used a cellphone in a way that put them in danger.
- Thirty-three percent of U.S. drivers ages 18 to 64 reported reading or writing text messages while driving in the previous month. In comparison, only 15 percent of drivers from Spain reported texting while driving in the same period.
- There were 341,000 accidents in 2013 that involved texting.
- Using a cellphone while driving increases the risk of a crash four times.
- A driver can safely glance away from the road for only two seconds while operating a motor vehicle.
- Drivers take their eyes off the road for five seconds on average to send a text.
- Forty-six states (plus Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands) ban texting for all drivers, regardless of age.
- The 21-24 age group is most likely to send a text or email message while driving.
Arizona Must Do Better
Efforts have been made to enact a texting-while-driving law. According to media reports, State Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, said he introduced a bill to make the practice illegal in 2007, but that each time he’s tried the bill has been blocked. However, because the legislator has moved on to the U.S. Congress, he is hopeful the next time he introduces the bill it will gain traction.
Aside from texting-and-driving laws, the AHAS report also suggests concerns about lack of laws in Arizona regarding: Front and rear primary enforcement seat belt laws, all-rider motorcycle helmet laws, booster seat laws, and six of the seven recommended teen driving provisions.
A copy of the full ASHA report on most safe and dangerous states can be found here: http://saferoads.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Advocates-for-Highway-and-Auto-Safety-Best-and-Worst-States-List-2017-FINAL.pdf.
If you have been involved in an Arizona motor vehicle accident, we’re here to help. Khalidi Law Firm, PLLC has more than two decades’ experience litigating vehicle accidents, including cars, motorcycles and trucks, from our offices in Tucson’s Barrio Historica.