Driving in Arizona may sometimes seem like the wild, wild west, but our great state has some driving laws that everyone behind the wheel should be aware of.
Arizona Roads and Teen Drivers
To start with, Arizona drivers who are under the age of 18 are subject to certain laws of the road that go above and beyond what other drivers must follow. And there’s good reason for these additional laws: Teens have less experience at the wheel, and are physiologically more inclined to take risks.
Although that risk taking can sometimes be positive (for example, making a new friend or trying a new sport), when it comes to driving, it can be dangerous and even deadly.
If you have a teen driver in your home, or if you will soon, know these laws:
- Arizona teens who hold an instruction permit (not a driver license) can only drive if they have another licensed driver who is older than 21 years of age next to them in the front seat.
- Teens must have had their permit for at least 6 months and have completed a minimum of 30 hours of supervised driving practice. After that, they can receive their graduated driver license.
- For the first six months, newly licensed drivers are not allowed to drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. with certain exceptions.
- Also for the first six months, teen drivers are limited to a single passenger who is under 18, unless they are driving siblings or have a parent or guardian seated in the front seat.
More Arizona Traffic Laws
These laws apply to all drivers, no matter their age.
Slow driving in the left lane: Arizona law restricts drivers from using the left lane on a mult-lane road or highway, except for using it to pass. Since 2018, Arizona has been issuing traffic violations to those who do not use the left lane for passing.
Cell phone use while driving: Handheld cell phone use has been against the law in Arizona since 2019. You can be ticketed and fined for using a cell phone or other handheld device while driving, unless it’s in a hands-free mode. This includes making and answering calls, reading or sending text messages, and holding or supporting a device with your body.
Driving in the carpool lane: Every state has different laws about using the HOV lane. For example, some states restrict drivers from entering and exiting the lane to certain marked areas. But in Arizona, you may enter and exit at any point as long as your vehicle holds two or more people (that’s the driver, plus at least one passenger). This is enforced Monday through Friday from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. You may drive without any passengers in the HOV lane during all other hours.
Child seats: According to Arizona law, a child must be restrained in a federally approved child safety seat until the age of 8, and until they reach a height of 4 foot 9 inches.
Obscuring or defacing license plates: It’s illegal to obscure, deface, or otherwise alter visibility of the numbers, letters, and validation tab (that’s the little sticker that shows the date your license and registration expires) on your vehicle. You also must properly and securely display your plate. If you have an old plate that has become damaged or unreadable, it’s the law that you must replace it.
Stupid motorist law: This law states that any driver who becomes stranded after driving around a barricade or warning sign to drive through a flooded area is financially liable for the cost of their rescue.
Sharing the road: Arizona law stipulates that drivers of all vehicles, whether those “vehicles” are motor-operated or not, have co-equal rights to use the roadways. This means that motorists aren’t the only ones entitled to use the roads; so are “persons riding animals or driving animal drawn vehicles” and bicyclists. Motorists have a legal responsibility to take care when approaching horses, livestock, and bicyclists on roads.
Stop and Go Driving School is your number one resource for helping you learn to stay safe on the road, and we can help you brush up on driving laws. See all our courses, including driver’s education, and get in touch to learn more.