Friday, June 14

Arizona Strictest in the Nation When it Comes to DUI Laws, But is Lax Concerning Distracted Driving

Arizona has one of the strictest DUI laws in the nation.

According to a study by WalletHub, Arizona ranks as the harshest state for penalties against drunk drivers.

Their laws state that first time offenders with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or above will be sentenced to 10 days in jail and a minimum $750 fine. Second time offenders will serve 90 days in a federal penitentiary and must pay $1,750. Third time criminals will be served with an automatic felony.

Even after the payment is processed and the criminal serves their time, a person convicted of a first-time DUI offense is required to install an ignition interlock device in any and all vehicles they drive for one full year.

In the study, WalletHub ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia after taking 15 key metrics into consideration, including fines, minimum jail sentences, and ignition interlock device requirements.

Georgia, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Alaska are also included in the top five ranking.

But, these tough rules are confusing lawmakers as there are currently no rules against distracted driving within Arizona. This is concerning as distracted driving, which is driving while being exceptionally tired or simultaneously using a mobile device, is one of the leading causes of car crash fatalities across the nation.

Annually, the number of fatigue-related crashes per year is estimated at over 100,000, and causes over 1,500 deaths. In Arizona alone, there were 116,609 — up from 109,664 — crashes due to distracted driving in 2015, and as a result, 53,554 injuries.

Additionally, there were more crashes on Arizona roads in 2015 than ever before. Those wrecks claimed the lives of 895 people, which is an increase of 121 deaths since 2014.

Col. Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, explains the importance of being alert while driving. He tells, “When you are behind the wheel, job number one is driving not looking at your phone, not reading, not personal grooming, not anything that takes your attention away from the road. It is dangerous and disrespectful for everyone sharing the road with you. Just drive!”

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