House Bill 2318

House Bill 2318 is effective immediately & affects three different laws though the portion of the bill that has received the most attention is the one prohibiting use of cell phones while driving.  The law has several exceptions, & police cannot issue citations until January 1, 2021. Until then, police may still stop for such violations but can only issue warnings.

Here are the three laws affected by HB2318:

  1. ARS Section 28-914 – Use of portable wireless communication device while driving

This new law is covered under ARS 28-914 & generally applies to portable wireless communication devices & stand-alone electronic devices, defined as follows:

  • Portable wireless communication device (PWCD)
    • A cell phone, portable telephone, text messaging device, personal digital assistant, stand-alone computer, GPS receiver, or any similar device that is used to initiate or receive communication, information or data.
    • It does not include;
      • Radio
      • CB
      • CB hybrid
      • Commercial 2-way radio communication device
      • In-vehicle security, navigation or remote diagnostics system
  • Stand-alone electronic device (SAED)
    • A portable device other than a PWCD that stores audio or video data files to be retrieved on demand by a user (e.g., Ipods).

Here are the specifics of ARS 28-914

Unless stopped for a red light or at a train crossing, it is unlawful to use a PWCD while:

  • Driving on a street or highway if the driver is physically holding or supporting a PWCD with any part of the person’s body
    • Unless used with an earpiece, headphone or worn on the wrist to conduct a voice based communication
  • Driving on a street or highway if the driver is physically holding or supporting an SAED
  • Writes, sends or reads any text based communication, including a text message, instant message, email, or internet data, on a PWCD or SAED

Exemptions to ARS 29-914:

  • Use of a PWCD or SAED while driving on a street or highway if such conduct is performed by using a voice-based communication system
    • This includes, through use of a PWCD or SAED, to direct the writing, sending, reading or other communicating of any text based communication
  • Use of a PWCD or SAED while driving on a street or highway if such conduct is performed when used in hands-free mode for;
    • Navigation
    • GPS
    • Obtaining motor vehicle information
    • Information related to driving a vehicle.

ARS 29-914 does NOT apply to:

  • Operators of authorized emergency vehicle
  • Law enforcement or probation vehicles while acting in an official capacity
  • FCC licensed operator of a radio frequency device other than a PWCD
  • Operator of two-way radio private land mobile radio system in the scope of operator’s duties and who is operating a fleet vehicle or who has a CDL
  • Use of PWCD to report an emergency or illegal activity
  • Use of PWCD that is affixed to the vehicle to relay information as a part of the driver’s duties to a dispatcher or a digital network or software service
  1. ARS Section 28-963 – Image display device; prohibition; exceptions; definition

This law has been amended to prohibit a driver while driving on a public roadway or an off-highway vehicle trail from watching TV or videos, or recording or broadcasting videos on PWCDs or SAEDs.

ARS 28-963 does NOT apply to:

  • Images such as Google Maps, or viewing data relating to:
    • Navigation
    • Vehicle information
    • Information related to driving
  1. ARS 28-672 – Causing serious physical injury or death by a moving violation

This statute has been amended to add a violation of ARS 28-914 to the list of civil offenses that will be considered a misdemeanor if the violation results in an accident that causes death or serious physical injury.