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Arizona’s Stupid Driver Law

SUV Driving on Wet Roads During Heavy Rain

Monsoon season in Arizona brings a great deal of rainfall, which causes flash flooding and flooded roadways. We’d like to remind drivers to be careful and not try to cross a road that looks impassable.


It might be true that the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plains but during monsoon season the rain is everywhere in Flagstaff. Monsoons can cause severe and dangerous driving conditions from limited visions, slippery roads, road hazards, and flooded roads. Further, in Arizona if you try to cross a flooded road and need to be rescued, you could be charged under the Arizona’s “stupid motorist law.”

The Arizona Daily Sun reported that the Flagstaff Fire Department rescued two people who tried to cross a flooded road. The car was unable to forge the three feet of water and stalled out.[i] The driver and occupants were rescued and no injuries were reported. The driver could be charged under A.R.S § 28-910, which states:

A. 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.

B. A person convicted of violating section 28-693 for driving a vehicle into any area that is temporarily covered by a rise in water level, including groundwater or overflow of water, may be liable for expenses of any emergency response that is required to remove from the area the driver or any passenger in the vehicle that becomes inoperable in the area or the vehicle that becomes inoperable in the area, or both.

C. The expenses of an emergency response are a charge against the person liable for those expenses pursuant to subsection A or B of this section. The charge constitutes a debt of that person and may be collected proportionately by the public agencies, for-profit entities or not-for-profit entities that incurred the expenses. The person’s liability for the expenses of an emergency response shall not exceed two thousand dollars for a single incident. The liability imposed under this section is in addition to and not in limitation of any other liability that may be imposed.

If you are found guilty of violating Arizona’s stupid motorist law you could be liable for all cost incurred in your rescue. During storm season, if you see a barricaded road, a sign that says, “Do not cross when flooded”, or a flooded road, take it seriously and find another way around. If you are stuck trying to cross a flooded road you risk getting a fine but also your life.

The Law Office of Gonzales and Poirier is committed to insuring the safety of all Flagstaff drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident call us at 928-774-5400 or visit our website at www.triallawyersaz.com because we are a plaintiff’s law firm serving Flagstaff and all of Northern Arizona. This article is not a substitute to speaking with an experienced attorney about your case and rights. Call us at 928-774-5400 and ask for a free initial consultation.

Photo credit: Neil. Moralee / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

About Gonzales & Poirier, PLLC

The Law Offices of Gonzales & Poirier provide legal services in Flagstaff, Arizona. If you are in need of a lawyer, please contact our firm today about your case by calling (855) 774-5400. We offer free consultations 24/7, affordable rates, and have payment plans available.
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