Arizona may not change its traffic laws with the same frequency as neighbor California. Nevertheless, in 2017, and beyond, motorists will notice a fair number of new AZ car laws.
Everyone needs to be cognizant of the regulations because in many cases the authorities are exercising zero tolerance for discrepancies.
Here are five of the newest changes to Arizona traffic laws. Some were adopted in 2015 or 2016 but will come into effect in 2017 or have a significant effect on the population this year onward.
City Speed Limits in Park Areas
Municipalities will have the power to either raise or lower the speed limit in areas next to public park facilities. They already hold this authority in school zones.
Both motorists and pedestrians near parks should be cautious because not everyone will be aware of the changes. Longtime residents of these neighborhoods may be used to the traditional speeds and either proceed more slowly or quickly than designated.
Working Car Lights Mandatory
Every light on a car must be working. Otherwise, an officer has a right to pull the driver over for a search. Some believe this power amounts to harassment. The state has decided that officers can use the stop as probable cause to conduct a search of the vehicle.
Misunderstanding the interpretation of the law will get many into trouble. It is easy to see how motorists would believe that such a search would be inadmissible. However, they must accept that the state seems to think that the right of officers to protect the public outweighs the privacy rights of drivers.
Beginning the last week of December 2016 and continuing in 2017, certain Arizona highways will be designated Safety Corridors. Law enforcement surveillance of motorists will be extra vigilant in these locations. Those breaking traffic laws will face increased odds of getting caught, as a result.
The goal of the Safety Corridors is to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities in places noted for high incidents. Fortunately, signs will designate the Safety Corridors so that motorists can react accordingly, reducing speed, using signals and generally doing whatever the law dictates.
Blocking Traffic at Political Rallies
In 2016, the legislature decided that enough was enough when it came to political protesters. Hoping to protect the freedom of expression, lawmakers increased the penalty for blocking access to political events from a class three to class one misdemeanor. Those charged will now face serious consequences.
The laws will remain on the books in 2017, despite the fact that the emotional 2016 election is now over. All of this means that those who try to take over Arizona highways and roads for political reason could face prosecution and a possible permanent record.
In November 2016, the state electorate rejected Proposition 205, which would have legalized recreational marijuana use.
Many mistakenly believe marijuana does not fall under the DUI regulations. They believed Proposition 205, if passed, would have brought marijuana under the DUI rubric. Yes, the wording of the proposed law did explicitly mention marijuana DUI stops. Yet, officers can already arrest those suspected of driving while influenced by the herb.
Motorists should realize that in 2017, they can actually face two charges if using marijuana while driving, both possession of an illegal substance and a DUI.
Be Careful in 2017 and Beyond
As seen here, a lot has changed in Arizona recently. Motorists hold the responsibility for knowing the current laws. Keep checking for more changes and be careful while on the roads.