New ban on electronic use while driving

Illustration by Aleah Green

Beginning Jan. 1, the use of a cellphone while driving was made illegal in Arizona. All devices must be in hands-free mode when on the road.

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, it will be against the law to hold a portable wireless device in any way. Additionally, it will be illegal to read, write, send messages, scroll through social media and record or watch videos from such a device as it creates a distraction while driving and requires the attention of one’s body. 

Those who violate this law may be fined anywhere between $75 and $149 upon their first offense and ranges $150 and $250 for subsequent violations.

However, drivers will still be permitted to use their GPS, start or end a call, talk on a portable wireless communication device and use a device in an emergency situation for help or to report a crime.

Exceptions to this law include emergency responders, people in an emergency situation or alerting first responders to an emergency situation or crime. Some devices that the law does not apply to include radios, subscription-based emergency communication devices, prescribed medical devices or in-vehicle security.

“It makes sense to pass a law like this if you look at how accidents happen when you are using a cellphone,” personal injury attorney Marc Lamber said to FOX 10 Phoenix.