If you drive in Arizona, it’s crucial to understand our state’s traffic and insurance laws. An informed driver is a safer driver. Knowing your legal rights and obligations will make it easier for you to recover fair compensation for your injuries if you are ever injured in a car accident.
The team at Silkman Law Firm Injury & Accident Lawyer has a thorough understanding of laws in Arizona regarding car accidents. We are committed to protecting the rights of accident victims and seeking justice for the wrongs they’ve suffered. Through the settlement process or even in court, we will fight to get you the money you need after a crash.
Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Arizona car accident lawyer.
Arizona Red Light Laws
Research shows that intersections see a significant number of car accidents in Arizona. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (AZDOT), nearly 5,000 drivers caused accidents and were cited for disregarding a traffic signal in one recent year. When an accident happens at an intersection, Arizona’s red light laws play a critical role in determining who will be held responsible for the crash. With that in mind, here are a few of the key applicable statutes:
- According to Section 28-644 of the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), running a red light or stop sign in Arizona is illegal. This law applies unless a driver is directed to ignore the traffic control device by a police officer.
- ARS Section 28-645 states that any car facing a steady red light must slow down and stop before entering the intersection and cannot go until the traffic light indicates they can.
- Any car approaching an intersection should stop before a marked or unmarked crosswalk so pedestrians can safely pass in front of them.
- Drivers may turn right at a red light after coming to a complete stop. But drivers must yield to pedestrians or other traffic. If a sign or signal indicates that a driver cannot turn right at a red light, the driver must obey the sign or signal.
- Drivers trying to turn left onto a one-way street may turn left on a red light unless a sign or signal indicates turning left on a red light is not allowed. They must still yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.
Auto Insurance Laws in Arizona
According to the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions (DIFI), all drivers must have proof of financial responsibility while operating a vehicle. The current AZ auto insurance laws for minimum requirements are:
- $25,000 for one person suffering injuries or death
- $50,000 for two or more people suffering injuries or death
- $15,000 per accident in property damage coverage
While these are the minimum amounts you are required to drive in Arizona legally, it is recommended to increase your coverage amounts. If your losses in an accident exceed your insurance policy limits, you could be responsible for those additional costs.
Arizona also requires all auto insurance carriers in the state to offer uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. These coverages protect you if you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance or whose insurance is not enough to cover your losses. You can also use uninsured motorist coverage if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident and the driver who hit you is never found.
While Arizona drivers are not required to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, having it as part of your auto insurance policy is generally a good idea. If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident or your losses exceed the limits of the other driver’s policy, you could find yourself in financial trouble.
A driver caught without sufficient coverage to meet the state-required minimums can face significant penalties. Per ARS Section 28-4185, the penalty for a first violation is a $500 fine and a three-month driver’s license suspension. A second violation in three years has a $750 fine and a six-month driver’s license suspension, while a third violation in three years carries a $1,000 fine and a one-year driver’s license suspension.
Reporting an Arizona Car Accident
If you are involved in an accident where someone is injured or killed, ARS Section 28-661 requires you to stop as close to the scene as possible. Per ARS Section 28-662, the same is true for any accident that only involves property damage, even if no one was injured or killed.
Once you have stopped at the accident scene, ARS Section 28-663 outlines your next required steps. Specifically, you must:
- Report the accident to law enforcement and make sure anyone who has been hurt receives treatment for their injuries. Calling 911 can satisfy this requirement.
- Give the other driver your name, address, and vehicle registration number.
- Give the other driver your driver’s license number if they ask for it.
Once you have met these requirements under state law, you should also report the accident to your insurance company. Most insurers require you to report an accident within a few days. When you report the accident, keep the description brief and factual. Do not give any recorded statements until you have spoken to an attorney.
Police in Arizona are required to investigate any accident involving a death, injury, or more than $2,000 in property damage. Once they have completed their accident investigation, police must file a written accident report within 24 hours. You can request this report later as part of an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.