Arizona has some curious rules of the road, and whether you’ve lived here your entire life or just moved to the state, you might not have heard of them. In this article, we’ll explore some of the unique traffic laws in Arizona and how they might impact the outcome of your car accident claim. As we’ll discuss, when drivers violate traffic laws, they violate their duty to other motorists. When a driver violates this duty and causes an accident, they will be liable for any resulting injuries and losses.
Reaching out to a local Arizona car accident attorney for a risk-free consultation will help you better understand your rights. Your initial consultation will cost you nothing, and your car accident attorney will cost you nothing upfront or even out of pocket. You have nothing to lose by seeking legal assistance following your car accident.
Read on to learn more about some strange and unexpected Arizona traffic laws and how a local car accident attorney can help with your case.
Drunk Driving Laws in Arizona
Every state – including Arizona – has a “legal limit” for drunk drivers of 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). You might think this means you can drive as long as you are under 0.08, but in Arizona, officers can arrest you even if a breath test shows you are under the limit.
Arizona is a “zero-tolerance state,” which means that you can face charges if officers witness signs of impairment, even if your BAC was lower than 0.08 percent. For example, if a police officer claims you were confused, smelled like alcohol, and slurred your words, they can use that as a basis to arrest you, even if you are under the legal limit.
There are different criminal charges for drivers with BACs under or over the legal limit. There is also a charge for “extreme DUI” for drivers with a BAC over 0.15 percent or “super extreme” DUI over 0.20. Different legal limits apply to underage drivers (0.00) and commercial drivers (0.04), so the drunk driving laws in Arizona are not nearly as straightforward as you might think.
When a driver engages in drunk driving, they should be liable for any accidents and injuries they cause. You will seek compensation in a separate case from their criminal charges, as these are two different matters. However, even if a driver is under the legal limit, they can receive a conviction for DUI. This conviction will serve as evidence of liability in your injury claim, so Arizona’s strict zero-tolerance DUI laws can help injury victims.
The “Stupid Motorist” Law
When a driver goes into a dangerous, flooded area, they might get stuck. When Arizona gets heavy rains or monsoons, officials might put up flood barricades to block off certain roads. If a driver goes around flood barricades and requires emergency rescue, the driver will be liable for the costs of their rescue under the commonly called “stupid motorist” law.
Usually, emergency rescue services are free of charge, but not when drivers get themselves into danger by ignoring a flood barricade. If passengers or others suffered injuries, the negligent driver should also be liable for their medical bills and losses.
Parking Lot Shortcuts
Cutting through a parking lot might seem like a straighter line to your destination and may even help you to skip heavy traffic at a stoplight. However, if a motorist does this in Arizona, they violate the law and face penalties. Drivers cannot cut across any private property to avoid a red light.
Arizona Motorcycle Laws
Some states require all motorcyclists to wear helmets, while two states do not require any helmets. Arizona falls in the middle, as motorcycle operators over age 18 do not have to wear a helmet. Minors must wear helmets, and there are no age restrictions for passengers.
While you can leave your head unprotected on a motorcycle, the law does require you to wear protective glasses, goggles, or a transparent face shield if your motorcycle does not have a protective windshield.
Since adult riders do not have to wear a helmet, other drivers cannot claim you were partially liable for your head injury because you didn’t wear a helmet. You are within your rights under the law, so this can help motorcyclists with a claim following traumatic brain injury or other head trauma.
Booster Seats for Children
The required restraints for children will vary from state to state and often depend on the child’s weight. However, most states now require children to be in a booster seat until they reach a certain size. In Arizona, however, booster seat requirements depend on height not weight. Children ages five to seven years should be in a booster seat in Arizona unless they are at least four foot-nine inches tall. Once they reach 4’9,” they can use a regular seat and seat belt.
Driving on Arizona Roads in Reverse
It might be comical or exciting in a movie when a character gets stuck driving in reverse, so they drive through town going backward, navigating turns and other obstacles through the rearview mirror. Entertainment applications aside, it is dangerous and illegal to drive in reverse on the roads of Arizona, and if a driver is doing this, they violate the law and will be liable for any injuries they cause.
Animals Are Vehicles
If you plan to travel by horse in Arizona, you must comply with all regular traffic laws. Arizona law considers all rideable animals – including camels and donkeys – to be vehicles. A horse-pulled carriage is a motor vehicle under the law and must comply with all traffic rules. The law further prohibits anyone else from spooking a horse you are riding, and if they do and you fall and suffer injuries, they can be liable for your losses.
How Traffic Laws Affect Personal Injury Claims
Knowing when someone violated a traffic law – even a weird one – is critical for a car accident claim. You should always call 911 if someone else causes a crash, and hopefully, police officers will cite or arrest the at-fault driver for a traffic violation.
Common violations in accidents include:
- Driving under the influence
- Running a traffic signal or sign
- Failing to yield
- Failing to signal
- Distracted driving
Drivers will be guilty of a traffic violation if they pay a traffic fine, plead guilty to an offense, or are guilty at a criminal trial. This conviction is proof of liability for a crash, as violating a law is automatic negligence. This means that your car accident attorney will not need to gather additional evidence – such as witness statements – of liability for your claim.
Knowing when someone was convicted of a traffic violation can save time and resources in your car accident claim. Your attorney knows how to review police reports and criminal records to determine whether the other driver was guilty of a traffic offense.
Your Arizona Car Accident Attorney Knows What Laws Apply to Your Claim
Each car accident will have unique circumstances that led to the crash, including which traffic laws might apply. Even if a driver did not violate a specific traffic rule, they still might violate their general duty to drive safely.
For example, using a smartphone violates a specific law in Arizona. However, no law bans eating while driving or reaching into the back seat to hand a child a snack. The latter activities are still distracted driving, as the driver is doing something while driving that takes their attention away from the road. Even if police officers cannot officially cite a driver for engaging in a non-electronic distracting activity, your car accident attorney can still hold that distracted driver accountable for violating their general duty and causing you harm.
Similarly, if a person is not sufficiently rested when they get on the road, they are violating their duty to drive safely by engaging in drowsy driving. A drowsy person cannot react to emergencies as fast, as drowsiness slows reaction times. There are no specific laws against drowsy driving for most drivers.
However, some laws try to curb drowsy driving for commercial drivers and rideshare drivers. Federal trucking regulations and state rideshare laws limit the number of hours a driver can be on the road without rest. If a driver violates one of these regulations, it can help your truck, bus, or rideshare accident case.
Why You Should Have a Car Accident Attorney
You might think that because a driver violated the law, you will automatically receive compensation for your losses. This is not the case, however, as insurance companies will not simply offer you compensation to cover your losses. An insurance company might make a lowball offer right out of the gate, but accepting this offer without first speaking with an attorney is a mistake.
Insurance companies want to ensure that you receive as little compensation as possible, as this helps their bottom lines. This is true even if the policyholder violated the law and caused a crash. Never speak with adjusters in detail without having legal representation, as doing so can hurt your claim.
As soon as you have a lawyer, the insurer knows that you take your claim seriously. They know your car accident attorney will gather evidence of liability, which can include traffic or criminal convictions. This can cause the insurance company to change its tune and cooperate in offering a favorable settlement sooner.
If the insurance adjuster fails to make a fair offer, your car accident attorney can file a lawsuit in civil court. If the driver has a conviction relating to your accident, the question of liability should not be an issue in the lawsuit. Instead, the case will focus on the amount of your damages and how much compensation you should receive.
Connect With an Arizona Car Accident Right Away
The sooner you consult with a car accident attorney, the closer you are to achieving a fair and complete settlement for your car accident. It is best to connect with a car accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident and before starting negotiations with the insurance company.
The insurance company benefits when you do not seek out the assistance of an attorney for your claim. They have full-time teams of claim analysts and attorneys carefully scrutinizing your claim to determine how to reduce or deny it, which they will do whenever possible.
An Arizona car accident attorney can jumpstart the process of collecting your compensation and ensure that you collect the full amount you need for your losses. They handle the entire process so you can focus on your physical health without worrying whether you are jeopardizing your claim.
While you might worry that you cannot afford a car accident attorney, this is not the case. If a car accident attorney takes your case, they will do so on a contingency basis, which means that you pay nothing before or during your case. Then, you only pay fees if the attorney succeeds in obtaining compensation for you, and these fees come straight from the insurance payment. This means that no one needs funds from their own bank accounts to hire a car accident lawyer.
Reach out to an Arizona car accident attorney now to discuss your legal rights and options following a car accident. Your initial assessment is risk-free, and you have no obligation to hire an attorney.
Part of the evaluation is whether another driver violated a traffic law – whether or not it is a weird or expected law.
Even weird laws require compliance, especially when a driver is behind the wheel of a car and can cause serious injuries to others. Your attorney will take the law seriously, even if it is a weird one.
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