We’re not in Arizona anymore; Know the rules of the road

Auto club highlights traffic laws in popular spring break destinations

Soon, many Arizonans will set out for spring break road trips and head to neighboring states. Though this is a welcomed recess from school, AAA urges drivers of all ages to hit the books before hitting the road to ensure they’re aware of how traffic laws in other states differ than Arizona’s.

“Depending on your driving record and the severity of the violation, a citation could increase your insurance premium anywhere from 10 to 20 percent,” said Brad Oltmans, vice president of insurance for AAA Arizona. “To ensure a safe and violation-free vacation, AAA Insurance has created a study guide for motorists to help prepare for different rules of the road.”

To help Spring Break road trippers, AAA has compiled the following study guide from the AAA Digest of Motor Laws. The list provides traffic law information for popular drive destinations, with many differing from Arizona’s laws:

 

California
 

 

Cell Phones
  •  Illegal to use a cell phone while driving unless in hands-free mode.
  • Drivers younger than 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone, even with hands-free devices.
  • Enforcement is primary, meaning drivers can be stopped for this without any other traffic offense taking place.
Text Messaging
  • All drivers are prohibited from writing, sending, or reading a text-based communication while driving. Enforcement is primary.
Child Passenger Safety
  • Children younger than 8 or shorter than 57 inches must be restrained in a child passenger restraint system in the rear seat.
Move Over
  • Drivers are required to slow down and vacate the lane closest to a stationary emergency response vehicle flashing emergency lights, if safe to do so, including tow trucks and Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) vehicles.  
Pick-Up Truck Beds
  • Riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck is prohibited.
Seat Belts
  • Seat belts are required for drivers and all passengers (ages 16 and older). Enforcement is primary.

Colorado
 

 
Cell Phones
  • Drivers younger than 18 are prohibited from using a wireless telephone while driving, even with hands-free devices.
Text Messaging
  • All drivers are prohibited from texting while driving. Enforcement is primary.
Move Over
  • Drivers must reduce speed and, if safe to do so, vacate the lane closest to stationary emergency vehicle and tow vehicles.
Child Passenger Restraints 
  • All children younger than 8 are required to be properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat. 
Pick-Up Truck Beds
  • Riding in a pickup truck bed is prohibited unless a person is seated in an enclosed cargo area.
Seat Belts
  • Seat belts are required for the driver and front-seat passengers 16 and older. Children ages 8 to 16 must wear seat belts, no matter their position in the vehicle. 

Nevada
 

 
Cell Phones
  • Cell phone use while driving is prohibited unless it is being used in hands-free mode. Enforcement is primary.
Text Messaging
  • All drivers are prohibited from texting while driving. Enforcement is primary.
Child Passenger Restraints
  • Children younger than 6 and who weigh less than 60 lbs. must be secured in a child passenger restraint system in the rear seat.   
Move Over Law
  • Drivers must reduce speed and, if safe to do so, vacate the lane closest to stationary emergency vehicle and tow vehicles.
Pick-Up Truck Beds
  • Riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck is prohibited for children younger than 18.
Seat Belts
  • Seat belts are required for the driver and all passengers.

New Mexico
 

 
Cell Phones
  • Drivers are prohibited from using hand-held cellular phones in Santa Fe and Las Cruces.
  • Teen drivers in instructional and provisional phases are prohibited from using any wireless devices while driving.

Text Messaging

  • Teen drivers in instruction and provisional phases are prohibited from using any wireless devices while driving. 
Child Passenger Restraints

 

  • Children ages 5 and 6 or less than 60 lbs. must be restrained in a booster seat or appropriate safety seat. Children ages 1 through 4 or weighing less than 40 lbs. must be properly secured in a child passenger restraint device. Children younger than 1 must be placed in a rear-facing child safety seat in the rear seat, if available.
  • All children younger than 18 must be properly restrained in a child restraint device or a seat belt. 
Move Over
  • Drivers are required to reduce speed and vacate the lane closest to emergency vehicles, if safe to do so. Does not include tow trucks.
Pick-Up Truck Beds
  • Riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck is prohibited for those younger than 18.
Seat Belts
  • Seat belts are required for drivers and all passengers. Enforcement is primary.

Sonora, Mexico
 

 
Speed Limits
  • Speed limits are posted in kilometers rather than miles per hour. 
Proceedings 
  • In Mexico, you are assumed guilty until proven innocent. This means that if you are arrested for any reason, you may be jailed until you can prove your innocence. 
Auto Insurance
  • U.S. auto insurance is not valid in Mexico. A Mexico auto policy is the only form of insurance the authorities will accept as evidence of financial responsibility.
  • Drivers who cannot provide this proof may be subject to arrest. Mexican auto insurance can be purchased online at http://www.az.aaa.com/insurance/mexico.

Arizona
 

 
Cell Phones 
  • Arizona does not have a law that prohibits cell phone use for drivers.
Text Messaging Ban
  • Drivers in Phoenix and Tucson are prohibited from texting while driving.
Child Passenger Restraints
  • Children younger than 16 are required to be properly restrained in all seats.
  • Effective Aug., 2, 2012, children who are ages 5 to 8 and 57 inches or shorter must use a booster seat.
  • Child restraints are required for children younger than 5.
  • Enforcement is primary.
Move Over
  • Drivers are required to reduce speed and, if safe, vacate the lane closest to any stationary vehicles with flashing or warning lights, including stranded drivers, emergency vehicles and tow trucks.
Pick-Up Trucks
  • Arizona does not have a law that prohibits riding in the cargo area of a pick-up truck.
Seat Belts
  • Seat belts are required for driver and front seat passengers.  Children younger than 16 are required to be in seat belts in all seats.

As an advocate for the motoring public, AAA provides a complete digest of traffic laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For information and to view the full guide, visit the AAA Digest of Motor Laws online at http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.