The Grand Canyon, the Mogollon Rim, the Petrified Forest, Tombstone, the OK Corral and the Saguarro Cactus; Arizona is home to an array of wonders that are uniquely southwestern. “Snow birds” (tourists who “fly” south for Arizona’s mild winters), make Arizona a popular destination year-round. Whether driving through, spending a season or calling Arizona home, drivers from all walks of life spend time in the “Grand Canyon State.” That’s why CheapCarInsurance.net has made the effort to find all the necessary information and arrange it in the following, easy-to-read list to keep Arizona drivers safe, secure and informed.
LAWS & REGULATIONS
Arizona’s famous monsoons can bring torrential downpours causing instant flash floods in the middle of the desert. Insurance laws and regulations seem to switch just that fast. Because of these never-ending changes, here is a list of the most current key points to keep drivers in the loop.
Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance in Arizona
- Arizona’s Department of Transportation states that all drivers must be covered by a minimum of liability insurance.
- Arizona Liability Coverage minimums include:
- $15,000 for bodily injury involving a single person.
- $30,000 for bodily injury involving two or more people.
- $10,000 for property-damage liability coverage.
- Arizona requires all drivers carry proof of current insurance, and failure to do so could result in vehicle registration and drivers license suspension. Penalties could also include the requirement to purchase SR22 insurance, which can be costly to the driver.
New Driver Licensing Requirements
Arizona requires all drivers to be licensed to drive a vehicle in the state, and the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) typically issues an “extended” license. The extended license is valid until the driver reaches the age of 65; however, the vision screening and the photo must be renewed every 12 years. Drivers age 60 and older must renew their license every 5 years, and no regular driver license may be issued to a driver under the age of 18.
The Arizona requirements to obtain a drivers license are listed below, and, for further information, the Arizona Drivers Manual can be accessed here.
- Vision Test. Applicants must pass the vision test with a visual accuity of at least 20/40. Corrective and telescopic lenses may be worn, and night vision restrictions can be applied to a license. This allows an applicant with less than 20/40 visual accuity to drive under certain restrictions. The Arizona MVD addresses these restrictions in detail.
- Written Test. Three attempts within 12 months allow all applicants who require the written test adequate opportunity to pass. Upon three failures, the applicant must pay fees to begin a new application. Touch-screen computer workstations at select MVD offices provide the applicant with 30 multiple-choice questions. Applicants can study the Arizona Driver License Manual (link provided above) and take multiple Practice Tests to prepare for the exam. Some applicants with current out-of-state licenses may not need to take this test, and verbal options are available for applicants needing assistance.
- Road Test.As with the written test, Arizona MVD allows three attempts to pass the road test within a 12 month period. The applicant must provide his/her own vehicle that must be registered and insured with current license plates and tabs. The applicant must be able to understand traffic signs prior to driving the test. The Arizona Driver Manual states that the administrator will evaluate the applicant’s ability to execute the following commands/actions when instructed to do so in English:
- Slow down
- Drive straigt ahead
- Use of turn signals
- Left and right lane change
- Turn (left/right) at the next street, corner, stop sign, or traffic light
- Honk the horn
- Seat belt
- Pay a License Fee.Although a Learner’s Permit holds a fixed $7 fee, Arizona’s drivers license fees vary by age:
- Ages 16-39: $25
- Ages 40-44: $20
- Ages 45-49: $15
- Ages 50-Up: $10
- Drivers Under the Age of 18. A graduated license is issued to drivers over 16 and under 18 who have held a learner’s permit for 6 months. To obtain the graduated license, the applicant must either complete an MVD-approved driver education course or be able to provide proof of 30 hours of supervised driving. This must be documented by a parent or legal guardian, and it must include 10 hours of night driving.
- Drivers Under the Age of 21. While all regular driver licenses in Arizona are horizontally oriented, the state issues vertically oriented licenses to drivers under 21. These licenses also include the date the driver turns 21.
- BAC limit: .08 Arizona institutes jail time for any DUI/DWI offense and also requires drug or alcohol screening before being eligible to re-instate a permit or driver license. .
- First Offense:
- Minimum jail time of 10 days with no eligibility for parole or sentence suspension.
- $1,250 minimum fine.
- Ignition interlock device.
- Perform community service.
- Second and Subsequent Offense:
- Minimum jail time of 90 days
- $3,000 minimum fine.
- Ignition interlock device.
- License revocation of 1 year.
- Perform community service.
- Arizona law also makes a distinction between DUI (BAC of .08), extreme DUI (BAC of .15 or higher) and aggravated DUI. Aggravated DUI includes a driver who commits a DUI with a passenger under the age of 15, commits DUI while his/her license is suspended, canelled or revoked, commits a third DUI within 84 months or commits a DUI or refuses to submit to a blood alcohol test while under the ignition interlock restriction. Penalties for extreme and aggravated DUI are increasingly more severe.
- For additional information regarding Arizona’s ignition interlock systems, visit Arizona’s DOT website
Texting & Driving Laws
Distraction.gov currently reports that Arizona has banned only school bus drivers for all cell phone use (hands-free and handheld).
Arizona, uniquely southwestern, has some uniquely southwestern laws on its books. For instance, it is illegal to hunt camels or to let a donkey sleep in a bathtub. In Prescott, do not ride a horse up the steps of the county courthouse. And for Arizona drivers, a difficult law to enforce would be the prohibition to drive a car in reverse in the city of Glendale!
Average Car Insurance Premiums
Insurance premiums have remained above the national average in Arizona for several years until 2011. The NAIC.org indicates that Arizona’s premiums were about the same as the national average in 2013.
Drunk Driving Fatalities
Arizona’s drunk driving fatalities are continually far below the national average, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Teen Drinking and Driving
Arizona teens drink and drive at a slightly higher percentage than the national average according to the Center for Disease Control. While Arizona indicates a teen drinking and driving percentage of 10.7 percent, the national average shows 10.1 percent.
Vehicular Theft in Arizona
The FBI reports Arizona’s soaring auto theft numbers as well above the national average. Although Arizona’s statistics are high in this area, they are showing signs of improvement.