Arizona Driving Laws: Your Essential Guide To Staying Safe And Compliant

Published: May 7, 2023
Last updated: August 1, 2023

Welcome to Arizona, where a mix of bustling cities, stunning natural landscapes, and scenic highways await. As you prepare to hit the roads in the Grand Canyon State, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with Arizona driving laws. 

This guide covers licensing requirements, rules of the road, seatbelt and child restraint laws, distracted driving laws, DUI and alcohol-related offenses, and teen driving laws. By understanding and following these regulations, you'll be well-equipped to drive safely and responsibly in Arizona.

Overview of Motor Vehicle Accidents in Arizona

Arizona is home to more than 7 million residents and attracts countless visitors every year. With such a high volume of drivers on the road, it's critical to maintain a strong focus on safety.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were over 121,345 motor vehicle accidents in 2021, resulting in more than 1,063 fatalities. Understanding and adhering to Arizona driving laws is the first step in reducing these sobering numbers and ensuring that the state's roads are safer for everyone.

AZ Licensing Requirements

In Arizona, a valid driver's license is required to operate a motor vehicle. New residents must obtain an Arizona driver's license within ten days of establishing residency. There are different types of licenses based on the driver's age and the type of vehicle they wish to operate.

To obtain a driver's license, individuals must pass a vision test, a written exam, and a road test.

Rules of the Road in Arizona

Arizona has established a set of rules that every driver must follow to ensure the safety of all road users.

1. Traffic Signals and Signs

Traffic signals and signs play a vital role in maintaining order and safety on the roads. Drivers must obey all posted signs and signals, including stop signs, yield signs, and traffic lights. Failure to do so can result in fines and penalties.

2. Lane Usage and Turns

In Arizona, drivers should stay in the right lane except when passing or turning left. To make a turn, use the appropriate signal at least 100 feet before the turn. Right turns on red are allowed after a complete stop unless posted otherwise, while left turns on red are only allowed from a one-way street onto another one-way street.

3. Speed Limits

Speed limits in Arizona are set to protect everyone on the road. In general, the speed limit is 75 mph on rural interstates, 65 mph on urban interstates and other divided highways, and 25 mph in residential areas, unless otherwise posted. School zones have a reduced speed limit of 15 mph when children are present.

4. Right-of-Way

Right-of-way rules are essential for avoiding collisions. In Arizona, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections. They must also yield to emergency vehicles with lights and sirens activated, and when merging or entering traffic.

Seatbelt and Child Restraint Laws

Seatbelts save lives, and Arizona law requires all drivers and passengers to wear them. Children under eight years old and under 4'9" tall must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system. Booster seats are required for children between 5 and 7 years old who are under 4'9" tall.

Distracted Driving Laws

Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents in Arizona. It is illegal to use a handheld cell phone while driving, and this includes texting, talking, or browsing the internet. Hands-free devices are permitted, but it's essential to stay focused on the road at all times to ensure the safety of everyone.

DUI and Alcohol-Related Offenses

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a severe offense in Arizona, with strict penalties for those caught breaking the law.

1. Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits

The legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit in Arizona is 0.08% for drivers aged 21 and older, 0.04% for commercial drivers, and 0.00% for drivers under 21. Driving with a BAC above the legal limit is considered Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and can lead to severe consequences.

2. DUI Penalties

Penalties for DUI in Arizona can include license suspension, hefty fines, mandatory alcohol education programs, and even imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense and the driver's history. Repeat offenders may face even harsher penalties.

Teen Driving Laws in AZ

Arizona has implemented a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program to help teens gain experience behind the wheel in a safe and controlled manner.

1. Graduated Driver Licensing

The GDL program consists of three stages: the permit phase, the provisional licensing phase, and the full licensing phase. During the permit phase, teens aged 15 years and six months to 17 years must complete a state-approved driver's education course or 30 hours of supervised driving, including 10 hours of nighttime driving.

In the provisional licensing phase, teens aged 16-18 can obtain a driver's license after passing a road test. There are restrictions on nighttime driving and the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle during this phase. After turning 18, drivers are eligible for a full license with no restrictions.

2. Cell Phone Restrictions

Teens with a graduated or provisional driver's license are prohibited from using any form of electronic communication device while driving, including hands-free devices, during the first six months of holding the license. This restriction helps young drivers remain focused on the road and develop safe driving habits.


Arizona driving laws are in place to ensure the safety of all road users. By understanding and adhering to these regulations, you can contribute to a safer driving environment for everyone. Stay informed, drive responsibly, and remember that the rules of the road are there to protect us all.

We hope this guide to Arizona driving laws proves helpful as you navigate the state's diverse roads and landscapes. Prioritizing road safety and adhering to established driving laws and regulations can significantly reduce the number of traffic-related accidents and fatalities.

For more information on safe driving practices, tips, and updates, visit Keep Driving.

Managing Editor Before joining Keep Driving, Elaine was an editor for an international internet technology consulting firm. She shows tremendous interest in writing about future technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learnings.
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