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Arizona Traffic Laws

Before driving in Arizona, you should know the rules. The expectations and laws differ from other states, and local law enforcement might pull you over if you make a mistake.

The principles of safe, defensive driving are always a good start to avoiding tickets wherever you drive. Yet, drivers sometimes get tickets for violations specific to this state. Learn about Arizona's traffic laws to protect your driving privileges.

Arizona Driving Laws and Vehicle Rules

Title 28 of the Arizona Revised Statutes covers transportation, including rules for motor vehicles. Find links to traffic laws and resources in Arizona in the chart below. The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) also provides learning materials.

Drinking & Driving Violations (DUI) Driving Under the Influence (ARS Title 28, Chapter 4)
Driving Without a License / With a Suspended License License Violations (ARS § 28-3471 to 28-3481)
Driving Without Insurance / With Insufficient Insurance Vehicle Insurance and Financial Responsibility (ARS Title 28, Chapter 9)
Driving Without Registration / With Expired Registration Registration; violation; classification; exceptions (ARS § 28-2531)Registration; violation; civil penalties (ARS § 28-2532)
Illegal U-Turn Limitations on turning around (ARS § 28-752)
Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit & Run Accidents involving death or personal injury; failure to stop (ARS § 28-661)Accidents involving damage to vehicle; failure to stop (ARS § 28-662)
Mechanical Violations and Unlawful Vehicle Modifications Equipment (ARS § 28-921 to 28-966)
Reckless Driving Reckless driving (ARS § 28-693)
Running a Red Light / Stop Sign Obedience to and required traffic control devices (ARS § 28-644)
Seat Belt / Child Restraint Violations Vehicle restraints required; exceptions; civil penalty (ARS § 28-909)Child passenger restraint system; civil penalty (ARS § 28-907)
Speeding Speed Restrictions (ARS § 28-701 to 28-710)

Arizona's Left Lane Passing Law

State law designates the left lane of a multi-lane road only for passing or turning left. Drivers must stick to the right lane unless they're passing slower vehicles ahead of them.

If you have found yourself stuck behind a slow car in the left lane, you'd know not all drivers follow this law in practice. Slow cars should safely move to the right lane and allow others to pass.

it can be frustrating when both lanes have slow traffic, but even if another driver fails to follow the left lane law, avoid risky maneuvers to get around them. You may end up with a dangerous accident or reckless driving charge.

Arizona's Right Lane Driving Law

Because the far left lane is solely for passing, most driving is done in the right lane. Drivers in the right lane should usually avoid passing other vehicles until they move into the left lane.

State law (AZ § 28-724) lists exceptions to the rule that allow you to pass in the right lane when:

  • The vehicle in the left lane is about to turn
  • There are two or more lanes in your direction with no parked cars in the roadway

Always ensure that you follow the posted speed limits when passing a vehicle.

Cell Phones Behind the Wheel

Arizona banned cell phone use while driving in 2019. You cannot text or use apps while your car is in motion. In fact, you can't touch your phone in general, including holding your phone to your ear with your shoulder. Your phone can't distract you by taking your eyes off the road, like when watching a video.

However, you can still use a cell phone in limited ways. Drivers can use their phones for navigation, but should always set and review the route before driving. You can also use your phone's hands-free options like speech-to-text inputs.

If you need to touch your phone, you can wait until you stop at a red light or stop sign. Use caution, as distracted driving due to cell phone use can lead to an expensive traffic ticket.

Online Services for Arizona Drivers

The Arizona Department of Transportation offers convenient driving-related services online.

On the AZ MVD Now website, you can:

  • Renew your vehicle registration
  • Schedule a vehicle inspection
  • Renew, replace, or apply for your Arizona driver's license
  • Request a copy of your driving record

For more support, you can also locate one of Arizona's MVD offices.

Traffic Tickets and Penalties in Arizona

Each traffic violation can carry unique penalties. Most traffic offenses have a point value plus a fine or other consequences.

For example, a simple speeding ticket is worth three points in Arizona, but excessive speeding of 20 miles over the speed limit is a class 3 misdemeanor in addition to those three points. This criminal charge risks jail time, even if it is the first moving violation on your record. Three speeding tickets within one year could lead to license suspension or a traffic survival school requirement.

Always check for local ordinances and road signs. Some cities like Phoenix use special rules and roadways to regulate traffic. You typically can't fight a ticket using a lack of awareness as your defense.

Talk to an Arizona Traffic Law Attorney

Driving laws and regulations can be confusing, especially for new drivers and out-of-state visitors. A traffic ticket lawyer who understands Arizona's rules can help you with your ticket or legal questions.

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