Additional Auto Concerns with Hastings & Hastings (Part Four)

This month we have covered several topics related to purchasing a car. Creating a budget, deciding whether to lease or buy, and obtaining financing are all important issues to become familiar with as you head into this process. Finally, after all this work, after all of the research and shopping and negotiating, you are behind the wheel of your new car. Having invested all this time and effort, you want your car to stay in fantastic condition for years and years to come. You want it to stay on the road. You want to reach that awesome moment when you finally make your last car payment and the car is officially all YOURS. To cross this financial finish line, you need to take excellent care of your car. Today, we are going to discuss car maintenance.

  1. Regular Oil Changes — Oil changes are essential. In fact, they may be the most essential element of vehicle maintenance. Oil is the lifeblood of a car. It lubricates the engine and protects it from dangerous heat buildup.The frequency with which you should change your oil is a topic of some debate. The age old adage states that you should arrange for an oil change every 3,000, however, many people believe that you can push changes back as much as 4,000+ miles. It is best to consult with your owner’s manual. How often you should really change your oil largely depends on the make/model of your car and your driving habits, so it could be different for everyone.
  2. Change Air Filters – Just as oil is necessary to the function of your car, so too is fresh, clean air. Air filters protect the delicate internal parts of a car from particulates, dust, and debris which can cause them harm and inhibit their function. As air filters become dirty, it gets harder for air to pass through them. This can cause several major problems. Read your owner’s manual to see how frequently you should change your air filters. Generally, the recommended time frame is ever 12 months or 12,000 miles.
  3. Brakes System Maintenance – If you get in a major wreck, there is no way your car is going to last a decade or more. Ignoring the maintenance of your brakes system will put you directly in harm’s way. No other car part’s failure will put you directly at risk of an accident quite like that of your brakes. Check your brake fluid levels regularly. Change them without fail every 24,000 miles. Keep an eye on the condition of your brake pads as well, changing them when necessary.

Additional Auto Concerns with Hastings & Hastings (Part Three)

This month on the Hastings & Hastings blog, it has been all about automobiles. Here in Phoenix, a majority of individuals depend on their cars to get through daily life. Without their vehicles, they would be helpless. This is why having a car totaled in an accident can be devastating. Legal actions take time, but accident victims can’t just wait around to get their lives back on track. For this reason, we recommend carrying rental insurance. When it does come time to buy a new car, you are probably going to consider financing it. Today, we are going to talk about just that – financing a new car purchase.

Financing Options

There are several options you can choose from when it comes time to finance a car. One common option is to finance through direct lending. With this option, you obtain a loan directly from a financing company, credit agency, or bank. The benefits of going with direct financing are twofold. When using direct financing, you obtain the loan and use the money to purchase the vehicle. This means you know your credit terms ahead of time which can help direct your shopping. Because you obtain direct financing ahead of time, you have the opportunity to shop around and find the best deal.

A second option is dealership financing. With dealership financing, you select a vehicle then enter into a contract with the dealership to pay for the vehicle plus a set interest rate and a financing charge over a period of time. While some dealerships may retain the contract, many will sell it to a third party. Third-potential buyers are usually banks, credit unions, or financing companies. Most dealerships will offer multiple financing options and will work closely with you to find the one that works best. Financing through a dealership eliminates the need to financing independently through a third party which can be convenient. As a final benefit of financing through a dealership, you may be able to access special incentive programs.

Before committing to a loan or financing through a dealership, make sure you know exactly how much you can afford in terms of monthly payments. A quick and easy way to calculate what you can afford is to take 10-20 percent of your gross monthly income and subtract the amount you pay for your monthly insurance premium. Whether you select a percentage closer to 10 or 20 depends on how much of your income you wish to allocate to car payments.

Additional Auto Concerns with Hastings & Hastings (Part Two)

Welcome back to the Hastings & Hastings blog. This month we have been diving deep into the topic of automobiles. We began taking a look at the differences between leasing and buying a car. Each path has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. When it comes picking on or the other, it often comes down to your specific lifestyle. Are you more concerned with saving money long term, or do you prefer to have a new car every few years? Just as an exercise, today we are going to pretend you are committed to leasing. To help you get the best deal possible, we are going to cover a few common leasing mistakes.

  1. Underestimating Mileage Limits

Yearly mileage limits are one of the primary difference between buying and leasing a car. If you have not leased before, it is easy to underestimate how restrictive mileage limits can be. The cost for exceeding mileage limits can range anywhere from 10 to 30 cents per mile. While that may not sound like a lot, it can add up VERY quickly. Leasing companies will commonly advertise lease with very low monthly payments as a way to get potential customers in the door. Be cautious about such offers as they may come with stringent mileage limits. Before signing a lease, familiarize yourself with your driving habits. Project how many miles you travel per year. Give yourself some wiggle room when it comes time to sign the lease.

  1. Pay Too Much Down

It is recommended to making a down payment of more than $2,000. This is a precaution in case something happens to the car. If the car is severely damaged or stolen, the insurance company will reimburse the leasing company, not the leaseholder. Rather, save this money and spread it out over the term of the lease.

  1. Carry Gap Insurance

Gap insurance will protect a leaseholder in the event that the car is totaled or stolen when the value of the car is less than the leaseholders total financial obligation. If this happens without gap insurance, the leaseholder may have to pay the difference out of pocket. Insurance companies and leasing agencies alike highly recommend carrying gap insurance.

 

Additional Auto Concerns with Hastings & Hastings (Part One)

In one of our previous postings this month we discussed the complicated matter of shopping for a new car. As personal injury attorneys,we often work closely with individuals who suddenly find themselves in need of a new vehicle. If they do not have rental car insurance (which we recommend), they may need a new car immediately. As was evidenced in our previous post, Hastings& Hastings’ Guide to Buying a New Car, buying a car is a complicated thing. There are so many factors we couldn’t even address them all in one post. Today, we are going to cover additional auto concerns by learning about the pros and cons of leasing versus buying.

Basics of Leasing

Before we get started, it is important to note that every leasing agreement and auto-loan is different, so when discussing the advantages and disadvantages of leasing, we will be forced to speak in generalities. Essential, a lease is a long-term rental agreement. Typically, leasing a car will require a smaller down payment and smaller monthly payments. The operating costs of a leased car tend to be lower than those of a purchased car because repairs will usually be covered under factory warranty. Finally, by leasing you can drive a new car every two or three years.

However, leasing does come with disadvantages. If you continually lease, you will ALWAYS have car payments. You will never outright own a vehicle. Leasing agreements also place a limit on the number of miles you are allowed to drive per year. Excess miles are paid for when the lease agreement ends. Often, you can extend the yearly mileage limits by paying higher monthly payments.

Basics of Buying

Buying a car almost always requires a large down payment. Buying tends to require higher monthly payments as well. However, unlike with a leasing agreement, when you decide to buy a car there is light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually, that car will be YOURS. You will own it. This means you could see a day in which you no longer have to make car payments. You will also be attached to this single vehicle for many years, which comes with its own drawbacks. The cost of repairs and maintenance will be yours alone to shoulder. And these costs can get expensive over time as the car ages. Finally, purchase cars begin losing value the moment they are driven off the lot, a problem you do not face when leasing a car.

 

 

Hastings & Hastings’ Guide to Driver Safety

Here at Hastings & Hastings, we have been diligently protecting the rights of accident victim in Arizona for over 35 years. We believe in taking a client-focused approach to personal injury law. This philosophy is what gave birth to out legendary Discount Accident Fee. David Hastings, the founder of Hastings & Hastings believed that accident victims, the individuals who suffered physical, mental, emotional, and financial hardship as a result of an accident, should be entitled to the bulk of any financial settlement. Such settlements cannot turn back time and undo the damage caused by an accident, but they can help accident victims as they move forward in their lives.

Every year hundreds of thousands of car accidents occur, resulting in tens of thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars of property damage. At Hastings & Hastings we are fierce supporters of accident prevention. An accident can change an individual’s life forever. If our efforts in accident prevention can keep even a single accident from happen, we would consider it worth it. Our ability to learn from the past is one of the best ways to support and promote accident prevention. Every year organizations such as the Department of Transportation and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration gather statistics documenting every accident that occurred in the United States. By looking at this information we can clearly identify the causes of most accidents.

In today’s blog, we are going to put together a guide to driver safety. We are going to focus on the three issues which we think are key to driver safety: driving under the influence, distracted driving, and defensive driving. Driving under the influence and distracted driving are THE leading causes of accident-related fatalities in the United States while defensive driving can help protect you from the reckless behavior of other drivers.

Distracted Driving

In 2014 alone, car crashes took the lives of over 35,400 individuals. According to statistics, 26 percent of these fatalities were cause by distracted drivers. Distracted driving fatalities have been on the rise for several years.

Distracted driving is defined as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” This distraction could be the result of any number of things. A typical list might include eating and drinking, talking to passengers, navigating, or personal grooming.However, you can add up all of the accidents cause by the previously mentioned distractions and the total will not come close to equaling that of the number one cause of distracted driving accidents – smartphones.

Smartphones provide more distractions than everything else combined; text messaging, phone calls, music, Instagram, Snap chat, Twitter, Facebook, all of these things are begging for our attention throughout the day. The world moves fast, and people feel like if they are not constantly in touch with their cellphones they will miss something. If you are hurt or killed in a car accident you will miss everything! It isn’t worth the risk. Take a few minutes to respond to texts and emails before or after a drive. Checking a text takes an average of 5 seconds, which is an eternity on the road. Be smart and be careful. If you cannot resist temptation, place your smartphone out of reach when you are in the car.

Even hands-free devices can be dangerous. You can be distracted even if your hands are not occupied. Studies have shown that true multi-tasking is almost impossible. The brain cannot engage in two activities at one time. Instead, it quickly toggles between multiple tasks. Further studies have shown that the area of the brain responsible for processing images has its performance decreased by as much as 33 percent when talking on the phone. Finally, avoid be distracted by other drivers who are likewise distracted. We have all seen drivers who are traveling while their face is buried in their phone. However, you noticing this is an active distraction for you! Keep your eyes on the road, avoid distractions, and avoid becoming a statistic.

Driving Under the Influence

Earlier this month we took a deep-drive into Arizona’s DUI laws and regulations. We are revisiting it here today because it is such an essential topic. Approximately 33.8 percent of fatal car accidents are directly caused by alcohol consumption. 9,967 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in 2014 according to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average drunk driver has gotten behind the wheel of vehicle while intoxicated 80 times before their first arrest. Almost 20 percent of individuals arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders. Now that we have covered the rather frightening statistics concerning drunk driving, we will discuss the topic of prevention.

Prevention is primarily accomplished through legislation, education, and personal responsibility. Drunk driving laws have made it illegal nationwide to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) equal to or in excess of .08 percent. For individuals under 21 years of age, there is a zero tolerance policy. Additional, police use sobriety checkpoints to catch drunk drivers and to dissuade individuals from driving drunk in the first place. In Arizona, anyone who has been caught driving drunk will have an ignition interlock device installed in their car to prevent future incidents. The penalties for drunk driving arrests include mandatory jail time and steep fines.

Education as to the dangers of drunk driving is provided by a wide range of national and local organizations. Large, national mass-media campaigns run by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration and the AdCouncil, supported by millions of dollars of funding spread word as to the danger of driving while intoxicated. Drivers are taught the dangers before there are allowed to obtain drivers license. Schools teach the dangers of drunk driving. All of these educational efforts are designed to promote personal responsibility. When it comes down to it, driving drunk is a persona choice made by an individual. It can only be prevented at the personal level.

If you know someone who may drive drunk, say something. If you are going out for the night and know you will be consuming alcohol, arrange transportation ahead of time. Taxis and popular ride sharing programs like Lyft and Uber are excellent options in addition to nominating a designated driver.

Defensive Driving

The standard Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations, ANSI/ASSE Z15.1 defines defensive driving as “driving to save lives, time and money, in spite of the condition around you and the actions of others.” This definition is taken directly from the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Course handbook.

 

Defensive driving is built upon the tenants of personal responsibility and awareness. It holds individuals accountable for not only their own safety but for the safety of other drives on the road as well. Defensive driving is a call to action. It asks individuals to drive first and foremost with safety in mind.

The scope of defensive drive is quite large, so we will focus on just a few of its tenets here today. One of the most important is the Two-Second Rule. This rule calls for drivers to maintain a minimum distance of at least two second between their car and the car they are following. Two seconds equals approximately one vehicle length for every 5 mph a driver is traveling. If someone is driving 50 mph they should stay at least 10 vehicle lengths behind the car they are following, if they are driving 75 mph they should stay at a minimum of 15 vehicle lengths behind the car they are follow.

Defensive driving also teaches about the importance of checking blind-spots when performing lane changes. It is possible for another vehicle to be hiding out of site between the fields of vision provide by the side and rear-view mirrors. These vehicles are typically so close that they would not have time to perform an evasive maneuver if you merged into them. You should look briefly over your shoulder to check these areas before performing a lane change. Additionally, use your turn signal and wait several seconds before performing the maneuver as a way to clearly communicate your intentions.

In Conclusion

Even if you familiarize yourself with all that we have covered here today, you may still find yourself in an accident one day. Unfortunately, some accidents are just unavoidable. If you have been involved in an accident, it is important to explore your legal options. You have rights as an accident victim. Let Hastings & Hastings help you explore those rights. To learn more or to schedule a free legal consultation, call (480)706-1100 or click HERE.

 

Keeping Kids Safe: Hastings & Hastings’ Guide to Child Safety

If you or someone in your family has been the victim of an accident, it is important to consider explore your legal options. You have rights which should be defended. Here at Hastings and Hastings, we have over 35 years of experience in personal injury law. We have fought for the rights of accident victims in a wide variety of cases, from dog bites to slips and falls, to automobile accidents, to wrongful deaths. Our highly experienced legal team is adept at handling every aspect of a personal injury case from initial consultations to finally closing the book on a successful settlement.

However, as a community focused practice, Hastings & Hastings places as much emphasis on accident prevention as well. While we always fight our hardest to ensure that accident victims are awarded the financial compensation they are entitled to, we acknowledge that nothing can fully erase the harm caused by an accident. With that in mind, we like to use the Hastings & Hastings blog as a resource for accident prevention. Over the months we have addressed such topics as slips and falls, dog bites, summer safety, and vehicle safety. Today, we are going to discuss one of the most important topics off all, child safety.

It is our duty as adults to care for others, particularly children. They do not have the decades of experience that we do when it comes to navigating the native dangers of the world. In today’s blog we will discuss specific safety concerns facing children at home, on the road, and when out and about in the world. We will also cover parental responsibility laws. Without further ado, lets dive into it.

Child Safety in the Home

Until they are old enough to head off to elementary school, children will spend a majority of their time at home.

Babies (0-12 Months):Being a new parent can be very scary. It is easy to think that the entire world is out to get them. Babies are much tougher than you would probably imaging, however, they still require constant, careful supervision. It is important to give them toys and other items to interact with to help them build their fine motor skills. Make sure you are only giving them appropriate toys. Carefully read the instructions and warning labels on any toys you bring into the home. If a toy is labelled as a potential choking hazard, don’t bring it into the home! To not let them play with any toy small enough to fit in their mouth. Make sure babies are supervised at all times when playing with toys.

Little Kids (1-4 Years): The toddler years are particularly chaotic at home. Little kids are full with a terrifying combination of boundless energy and endless curiosity. Bumps, bruises, and scrapes are common. While we do want to prevent this minor injuries, we should be more mindful of major health risks. Your best tool here is education. Teach them about the most dangerous area of the home such as the kitchen, bathroom, backyard, and pool. Teach them about fire and electrical hazards. And as always, supervise, supervise.

Big Kids (5-9 Years): This is the age when kids begin to develop some independence. The lessons you taught them when they were little kids should all be deeply ingrained by now, which is good, because it is time for new lessons. This is the age to teach them about topics like bicycle safety, stranger danger, playground safety, and how to cross the street. By arming them with knowledge and by showing them the importance of personal responsibility, you are given them the tools to stay safe for years to come.

Child Safety on the Road

Every year, thousands of children end up in the emergency room, injured or worse because they were in a car accident and were not properly secured in a child safety seat. In Arizona, child restraints are required for any children under the age of 5. Children between 5 and 8 years of age who are 57 inches or less in height must use a booster seat. These are vital safety laws designed to keep children safe. Arizona laws do not state any preference as to whether safety seats should be affixed to the rear seat, although most studies show that rear-facing, rear seats are the safest. Violating child restrain laws is a primary offense. Using the right safety seat, for the right age, in the right location WILL save your child’s life in an accident.

Click HERE for an excellent guide for picking the right car seat.

As an additional concern, you should NEVER leave children unattended in a parked car. Every year children die as a result of heatstroke suffered while being left alone in the car. Even a minute is too long. During an Arizona summer, the interior temperature of a parked car can soar above 120 degrees. If you see a child left alone in a parked car, call the authorities. Time is of the essence.

Child Safety on the Playground

Where else do kids love to spend more time than at the playground? You probably still remember your playground days vividly, running around with your friends playing tag, swinging across the monkey bars, and digging in the sand. What a blast! However, it’s is not always fun and games at the playground. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 200,000 children a year are treated in hospital emergency rooms as a result of playground-related injuries. These injuries can be severe, ranging from broken bones to concussions and dislocations.

Playground injuries are most commonly caused by poorly design or inadequate maintained playground or lack of supervision.

If playground equipment is not properly maintained it can become dangerous, ropes may fray, metal rusts, wood rots, wear and tear exposes nails, sharp edges, and screws. Playground should be designed with soft surfaces under all playground equipment to protect children in the event of a fall. Before let the kids loose to run around and have fun, inspect the condition of the playground. Once you are certain it is safe, stand back and let them have their fun! Don’t forget to get in the mix yourself! This is time to make memories that will last a lifetime. Remember, even if you don’t decide to play around yourself, supervision is essential. Keep an eye on them at all times.

Parental Responsibility Laws

Every state has a set of statutes known as parental responsibility laws. Generally, these laws attach financial liability to the parents or guardians of children for any damage or harm they cause. Arizona’s parental responsibility laws can be found in Arizona Revised Statutes section 12-661. It states:

“Any act of malicious or wilful misconduct of a minor which results in any injury to the person or property of another, to include theft or shoplifting, shall be imputed to the parents or legal guardian having custody or control of the minor whether or not such parents or guardian could have anticipated the misconduct for all purposes of civil damages, and such parents or guardian having custody or control shall be jointly and severally liable with such minor for any actual damages resulting from such malicious or willful misconduct.

Arizona’s parental responsibility laws may only hold a parent or guardian responsible only while a child is legally a minor (below 18 years of age). Much like Arizona’s dog bite statutes, parental responsibility laws are ruled under strict liability which means that parents will be held accountable for the actions of the minor even if they had no prior reasons to anticipate misconduct.

In Conclusion

If you or your children have been injured in any way, it is important for you to explore your legal options. You have rights as an accident victim. Let Hastings & Hastings help you explore those rights. To learn more or to schedule a free legal consultation, call (480)706-1100 or click HERE.

Hastings & Hastings’ Guide to Buying a New Car

Here at Hastings & Hastings our goals are twofold. First, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of accident victims through legal actions while helping them put their lives back together following an accident. Second, we are we are committed to helping people stay safe in their daily lives by promoting accident prevention. We value these goals because they are community focused on a micro and macro level. We aim to help specific individuals knowing that individuals form the fabric of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area. We also hope to influence the safety and well being of the community as a whole.

With the help of a legal team that has over 150 years combined experience working in the field of personal injury law, we have worked to make the Hastings & Hastings blog THE best source for information regarding a wide range of topics from personal injury law and shopping for car insurance to highway safety and accident prevention. Today, we are going to discuss an issue that everyone will face one day in their life. The need to buy a new car. Whether your old car is getting long in the tooth, or it was damaged in an accident, or you are just ready for a change. Eventually, the time will come when you need to buy acar. Do you feel prepared

Buying a car is not something most of us do very often. For that reason, it is okay if you feel unsure about how to best go about the process. Buying a car is a big deal. It is a large financial commitment. You are bringing something into your life that will, hopefully, be around for a very long time. When it comes time to buy a new car, you want to make sure you get things right. Today, Hastings & Hastings offers our guide to buying a new car.

Wandering Through the Wilderness: How to Get Started

Alright. Whatever your reason may be, you have decided to buy a new (for you) car. Well, what are you waiting for? Why don’t you just go out and get one? Because it really isn’t that easy is it? A million questions, concerns, and ideas probably started bouncing around in your head the moment you decided it was time to buy a car. As always, the way to tackle a big problem or project is to break it down into smaller problems and to do things step-by-step. That is exactly the approach we are going to be taking.

Before you think about leasing vs. buying, finding financing, securing insurance, or negotiating about the specifics of a warranty, you have to decided what type of car you want. There we have our first step – picking out a car.

Now, we have to put together a whole new set of steps. First, you need to decide what matters most to you in a car. Are you primarily concerned about value, about maximizing the value of the car and minimizing the totally costs regardless of how time consuming that process may be? Are you primarily concerned about the appearance/function/features of the car? Is safety your number one concern? Are longevity and reliability the two most important issues for you?

Make a list of your primary concerns. Order them from most important to least important. Decide which issues are non-negotiable and which ones you are willing to have a little wiggle room on. Currently, there are 226 different car models sold in the United States. The availability of so many options can feel paralyzing. Creating a list of priorities and concerns will help you narrow down your options and give you an easier starting point.

Now that you have started narrowing down your options, it is time to get more specific. This is when you can use specific details to further eliminate other options. How many seats do you need? Do you want a hatchback or a sedan? Do you need four-wheel drive? Do you care about towing capacity? Answering each of these questions will help you narrow your search and get you closer to picking out a car.

Of course, there is one important issue which takes precedent over all of these concerns. It is one we will address now. Budget.

Establishing a Budget: Calculating What You Can Afford

You can have all the wants, dreams, and desires in the world, but when it comes down to it, you should never step out of your budget when purchasing a car. Figuring out the affordability of a car can be complicated. There are many factors to consider beyond just the sticker price you see in the showroom.

Every household and family is different, but when establishing a budget for a car there is a simple formula you can follow. Begin by taking 10 percent of your gross monthly income. This is the amount of money you have BEFORE you pay your bills. Next, subtract the value of your monthly insurance premium from this 10 percent. Now, you have an amount which you can use to make monthly car payments. There is nothing wrong with stretching this amount and using up to 20 percent of your gross monthly income if that is something that works for your family. It is all about finding the right, unique number for you and your family.

Remember, cars begin losing value the moment you drive them off the lot. You want to avoid getting yourself into a difficult to manage financial situation. Reselling a car to recoup sunk money almost never works.

Discussing Price

By now you have a budget and a small list of cars that could potentially fill your needs. Now it is time to do some real shopping. To do this, you are probably going to head out to the dealerships. You are almost always going to enter into negotiations over the price of the vehicle when buying from a dealership. It is a good idea to become familiar with many of the pricing terms they may use.

MSRP: MSRP stands for “manufacturer’s suggested retail price.” This is a number that is established by the manufacturer of the car, not the dealership itself. By law, this price must be prominently displayed on any vehicle sold in the Unites States. This is not the final price of the car. Vehicles often sell for higher and lower than the MSRP.

Invoice Price: Knowing the invoice price of a car is a very useful tool when negotiating with a dealer. This is the price the dealer paid for the car. You would think that selling the car for anything less than the invoice price would result in a loss for the dealership, but there is a little more to the story than that. Often, incentives or other factors may lower the true cost for the dealership. However, knowing this number gives you a general idea of how the dealer may be able to go in negotiations.

Fair Purchase Price: Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Purchase Price, updated weekly, is one of the best ways to determine the fair price for a vehicle. It shows the actual price consumers are paying for specific makes and models. It depicts only real transaction data independent of influence by dealers or manufacturers.

Using all of these tools in conjunction traditional bargaining techniques can help you get the best possible deal on a vehicle.

In Conclusion

Purchasing a car is a major decision. One you shouldn’t take likely. As you can see, there is a lot to consider when car shopping. You must pick one perfect vehicle out of a selection of over 200 makes and models. You have to balance your finances and establish a monthly budget. Finally, even when you know what you want and how much you are able to pay, you have to negotiate with a dealership. And we haven’t even mentioned financing, warranties, and buying vs. leasing, all topics we will discuss later this month. However, now you should have the tools you need to start the process.

If you have been involved in an accident of any kind, it is important to explore your legal options. Call Hastings & Hastings today at (480)706-1100 to schedule a FREE legal consultation. With over 35 years defending the rights of accident victims in Arizona, Hastings & Hastings has the experience and knowledge necessary to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

 

Arizona DUI Laws and Regulations

Here at Hastings & Hastings, we have been defending the rights of accident victims for over 35 years. We know that accidents have a wide variety of causes.No one means for an accident to happen. They are termed“accidents” for a reason after all.Typically, accidents happen because a driver is inattentive, distracted, or driving recklessly. Accidents of these types are often preventable. Perhaps the at-fault individual was driving over the speed limit, looking at their phone, or failed to check their rear-view mirror when changing lanes. Each of these incidents could have been avoided had proper driving protocol been followed.

DUI related accidents are not only the most preventable, they are also the deadliest. It is never excusable to get behind the wheel of a car when intoxicated. It is extremely dangerous and unlawful to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to statistics gathered by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, 29,989 fatal car accidents occurred in the Unites states in 2014 resulting in the deaths of 32,675 people. It is estimated that 15,479 people were killed in accidents involving alcohol consumption. Only 32 percent of these individuals were killed with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit of .08. This means that consuming alcohol and driving can be dangerous even if a driver is below the legal limit.

Today, we are going to discuss Arizona DUI laws and regulations. We are also going to take a close look at alcohol-related accident statistics and cover the important topic of drunk driving prevention.

The Specifics of DUI Laws and Regulations

All states place the legal limit in terms of driving while intoxicated at .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC is the most commonly used metric to define intoxication. It is typically expressed in terms of a percentage of ethanol (alcohol) in the blood. A BAC of .08 means that an individual’s blood currently contains .08 percent alcohol by volume. The most common method for reading BAC during a traffic stop is through the use of a breathalyzer.

Breathalyzers function by detecting the presence of alcohol in an individual’s breath. Standard hand-held field breathalyzers us electrochemical platinum fuel cells to perform the analysis.

If someone is stopped by an officer and found to be driving a vehicle while possessing a BAC at or above .08 they are determined to be driving under the influence. It is important to note that you can be determined to be driving under the influence even with a BAC under .08 percent.

The purpose of a preliminary alcohol test such as those performed during a traffic stop is do determine if there is reasonable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence. You may refuse a field sobriety test, however, this refusal may supply the officer with the probable cause they need to arrest you. If you refuse to submit to a test after you have been arrested your license will be automatically suspended. Next, we will discuss specific DUI penalties.

First Offense – First-time DUI offenders will be jailed for no less than 10 consecutive days and be subject to fines no less than $1,250. In addition, offenders will be required to undergo alcohol screening, treatment, and educations. Finally, their vehicles will be equipped with a certified ignition interlock device and they will be required to perform community service.

Subsequent Offenses – Subsequent DUI offenses after the first will result in jail time of no less than 90 days and fines of no less than $3,000. Offender will also have their license suspended for 12 months. As with first-time offenses, individuals will undergo alcohol screening, treatment, and education. They will also be subject to the installation of a certified ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Finally, subsequent offenders will be ordered to perform community service.

Extreme DUI

Extreme DUIs occur when an individual is found to be driving with a BAC of 0.15 or greater.

First Offense – First-time extreme DUI offenders will be jailed for a minimum of 30 consecutive days and be fined no less than $2,500. They will additionally be subjected to all the previously listen penalties for standard first-time DUI offenders.

Subsequent Offenses – Subsequent extreme DUI offenses after the first will result in a minimum jail sentence of 120 days and a fine of no less than $3,250. Offenders will also have their driver’s license suspended for 12 months and be subject to all the previously listen penalties include the installation of a certified ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

Aggravated DUI

The category of aggravated DUI applies when an individual commits a DUI while their license has been suspended or revoked; commits a DUI with an individual under 15-years of age in the vehicle; commits a third DUI in 84 months; or commits a DUI or refuses to submit to a BAC test while subjected to an ignition interlock device.

The consequences for committing an aggravated DUI are extremely harsh and include prison sentences of no more than two years. An offender will also have their license revoked for three years and be subject to other penalties as required by law.

Ignition Interlock Devices

An ignition interlock device is a BAC measuring instrument that is connected to the ignition and power systems of a car. A diver must register a reading into the device before attempting to start the car. If the driver’s BAC is above a certain level, the ignition interlock device will disable the vehicle. In addition, the driver must provide readings at random intervals while driving the car. If the driver fails to provide a reading while the car is in use or if the reading exceeds a specific BAC level the ignition interlock device will make a digital log of the event, then provide a warning to the driver before setting of an alarm. The alarm will continue until the car is turned off or until a clean sample is provided.

Ignition interlock devices are mandatory for all DUI convictions.

Sobriety Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints, also known as DUI checkpoints are locations in which law enforcement officers set up a fixed spot to check divers for signs of intoxication. Field sobriety checkpoints are utilized in 38 states. In Arizona they are performed at least once per month. The legality of field sobriety checkpoints has been challenged and subsequently upheld under the federal constitution. The cost of conduction a sobriety checkpoint averages $8,900 although it is estimated that they save approximately $62,500 in potential property damages while reducing fatalities by 15 percent.

Dram Shop Laws

If an intoxicated person injures another individual, the injured individual may seek damages not just from the person who caused the injury, but also from the business or vendor who provided the intoxicated individual with the alcohol. Such actions are governed by “dram shop” laws.

Arizona’s dram shop laws hold vendors and businesses who retain liquor licenses liable for selling alcohol to individuals who are obviously intoxicated as well as minors if the licensee failed to request ID or knew the minor was under 21-years of age.

Arizona’s dram shop laws define obvious intoxication as “inebriated to the extent that a person’s physical faculties are substantially impaired as shown by significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction that would have been obvious to a reasonable person.”

Arizona Revised Statutes section 4-301 protects individuals who provide alcohol to guests in social situations. It is important to note that dram shop cases are civil proceedings. Liability will always be expressed in terms of monetary damages, not in legal penalties.

In Conclusion

Driving while under the influence is an extremely serious issue. Drunk driving directly results in the death of thousands of individuals a year. If you are going out and you know you are going to be drinking, make sure you take steps to avoid drunk diving. Nominated a designated driver. Utilize ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft. Call a conventional taxi. Whatever you do, you should never get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated.

If you have been involved in an accident of any kind, it is important to explore your legal options. Call Hastings & Hastings today at (480)706-1100 to schedule a FREE legal consultation. With over 35 years defending the rights of accident victims in Arizona, Hastings & Hastings has the experience and knowledge necessary to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.