How to Comply with Arizona Driving Laws for Teenagers

An important milestone your teenager reached was getting a driver’s license. Now that it’s back to school season, your teen will be sharing the road with buses, kids on bicycles, and other newly minted driver’s license holders. While your teen sees driving as a step toward independence, parents are left wondering if your child is ready for the road. 

The reality? Statistics show that teens simply don’t have the same level of responsibility as adults. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that “teen drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes, mainly because of their immaturity, lack of skills, and lack of experience. They speed, make mistakes, and get distracted easily – especially if their friends are in the car.” In 2021, 2,608 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver. And of the teen passenger vehicle drivers who died in 2021, 51 percent of them weren’t wearing a seatbelt. 

So, as a parent, what can you do? For one, all 50 states have a three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) system that helps curb high-risk situations. This can reduce the chance of a crash by as much as 50 percent. It’s also important to know what the laws and restrictions are in your area since they can vary from state to state. 

Here are the top 6 factors that put teen drivers at risk and the Arizona law in place to keep them safe. 

  • Lack of experience: It’s just a given that a teen driver lacks experience behind the wheel since they just acquired their driver’s license. They may not possess the necessary skills to handle unexpected situations or make split-second decisions, making them more vulnerable to accidents.

The solution: Arizona has a teen driver curfew because driving after dark can be dangerous, especially for new and teenage drivers. Newly licensed teens cannot drive between midnight and 5 am unless a parent or legal guardian accompanies them, it’s an emergency or if they are driving to work or back from school. 

  • Poor decision-making: A teenager’s brain is still developing, particularly when it comes to decision-making, risk assessment, and impulse control. This underdeveloped cognitive ability can impair their judgment on the road. Teens may engage in risky behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, or distracted driving without fully comprehending the potential consequences.

The solution: All drivers in Arizona are subject to speeding laws, which can lead to fines and the revoking of your driving privileges. Encourage your teen to stick to speed limits by giving them the responsibility of paying for any tickets they may get and/or the increased cost of insurance. 

  • Distracted driving: The most common distracted driving culprit is the ever-present phone. Texting, chatting, and using social media can all steal a teen’s attention from their driving. This is a serious problem since distracted driving is now the number one cause of car accidents in the U.S.

The solution: Arizona prohibits the use of a cell phone for teen drivers except in an emergency. The law is subject to two conditions: 1) when it is impossible to stop the vehicle. And 2) if stopping the vehicle can lead to an additional emergency or it presents a road safety hazard. 

  • Peer pressure: Teens are more likely to take risks and engage in dangerous driving habits when friends are riding with them. This social influence can lead to distractions and reckless driving, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

The solution: Teenage driving laws in Arizona limit the number of passengers to just one non-family member under 18 for the first six months, unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian riding in the front passenger seat. 

  • Skipping the seat belt: Wearing seat belts is one of the most effective ways to prevent injuries in an accident. Despite this, many teens still refuse to buckle up. Teens have a higher rate of seat belt non-compliance than any other age group. This behavior significantly increases the risk of serious injury, even in relatively minor accidents.

The solution: Arizona laws are very strict regarding seat belt use. All drivers and passengers must wear their seat belts. Period. 

  • Impaired or drunk driving: This is always going to be a recipe for disaster and teens are definitely no exception. The dangers of drunk driving are well established. However, teens continue experimenting with alcohol and drugs at an alarming rate—even when driving

The solution: Driving under the influence is against the law in Arizona no matter what age you are. There is no compromise on drinking and driving and as such, it’s important that teens understand and follow this rule. 

Keep Your Teen Driver Safe On the Road

You have more influence with your teen than you might think. Be a good example and help shape their driving habits from the beginning. Of course, accidents can still happen no matter how careful your teen is. If someone you love is injured in an accident and you wish to discuss the specifics of your case in a free consultation with an experienced Tucson personal injury lawyer, please contact us today.