Stupidity is often in the eye of the beholder. Unless the beholder is a police officer watching a motorist flaunt road signs or traffic laws for no darn good reason. That was the logic behind a 1995 Arizona law which allows officers to cite drivers for doing exactly that. It’s been dubbed the ‘stupid motorist’ law, and its aim is any driver who thinks they can simply ignore impromptu street barricades, lets say, put in place to mark a flooded roadway.

You might think that flooded roadways would be their own caution sign, prompting motorists to find some other way to their destination. Unfortunately, not only will some drivers ignore the flooded roadway, they will also often drive around temporary barricades erected by police to keep them from driving on those streets.

At issue is not simply the safety of the motorist but also the costs of rescuing them if they become stuck these cost can fluctuate, but in most cases cost somewhere between $2,000 to $50,000 for a total rescue of vehicle plus occupants. That means, just because somebody decides not to use common sense and defy a police ordered barricade, the police and fire and rescue units must incur the costs to rescue them from their own stupidity.

Arizona thinks that’s a bad idea, and that’s why their law states:

“A driver of a vehicle who drives the vehicle on a public street or highway that is temporarily covered by a rise in water level, including groundwater or overflow of water, and that is barricaded because of flooding is liable for the expenses of any emergency response that is required to remove from the public street or highway the driver or any passenger in the vehicle that becomes inoperable on the public street or highway or the vehicle that becomes inoperable on the public street or highway, or both.”