Wrong way driving accidents are catastrophic and often fatal.
Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, has proposed House Bill 2243 to reduce the number of wrong-way drivers. If the bill becomes law, a person who drives the wrong way on a highway would face a $500 fine and be required to attend traffic survival school. If they are driving under the influence of alcohol, they could be charged with a Class 5 felony and possibly face up to 18 months in prison.
The bill has passed committees with some opposition. However, most legislators agree they need to take some action. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) reported nearly 740 wrong-way drivers on Arizona freeways last year.
Bill Status: Passed the House, and passed the Senate Transportation and Technology and Judiciary committees; awaits a full Senate vote.
New car seat regulations
If HB 2071 becomes law, children under 40 pounds and 40 inches tall would have to sit in a rear-facing car seat. The change not only protects a child from an airbag, but it also protects their spine in an accident.
The bill, proposed by Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen, came about after listening to concerns from Arizonans about child safety in cars.
The bill would bring Arizona up to national safety standards. The recommended height and weight standards come from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Bill Status: Passed the House, awaits a hearing from the Senate Health and Human Services and the Commerce and Public Safety committees.
Increasing minimum vehicle liability insurance
Arizona has not raised the minimum insurance requirements since the early 1970’s. Senate Bill 1075, would increase the minimum standards for vehicle liability insurance. Many states have raised their minimums, and Arizona has not kept pace over the years.
According to ADOT, the current insurance requirements are:
-$15,000 bodily-injury liability for one person and $30,000 for two or more people.
-$10,000 property-damage liability.
Bill Status: Passed the Senate, awaits hearing from the House Banking and Insurance Committee.
Let’s hope some good things come out of the Arizona legislature this year, for the benefit and safety of all Arizonans.