Arizona’s Teen Driving Laws and Insurance Requirements

Information on permits, graduated licenses, and insurance requirements in Arizona for drivers who are under age 18.

In Arizona, drivers who are under age 18 years old can legally drive, subject to certain conditions and restrictions. Before obtaining an unrestricted driver’s license, Arizona requires teen drivers to first get a graduated instruction permit, followed by a graduated driver license.

Graduated Instruction Permit

A graduated instruction permit is the first step for a teen to become licensed to drive. This permit is designed to give teens a decent amount of driving experience while an adult is in the car before the teen is allowed to drive alone. The permit is good for 12 months.

Permit Requirements. The earliest a teen can apply for a permit is 15 years and six months of age. The teen and a parent or legal guardian must complete an application. The teen must also pass written and vision tests.

Permit Restrictions. A driver with a permit may drive only with a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age who is seated next to the driver at all times. Under these conditions, the minor can also have other passengers in the car. The minor must always carry the learner permit while driving. And teens are prohibited from using a cellphone while driving except during specific emergency situations.

Graduated Driver License (Class G)

At age 16, you are eligible to apply for a graduated driver license. This license allows a teen to drive alone under certain conditions.

License Requirements. To obtain a graduated license, the teen must be under the age of 18 and have held a valid instruction permit for at least six months. The teen is required to complete an approved driver education program or the teen’s parent or legal guardian must certify that the teen has completed 30 hours of supervised driving (with ten hours at night.) The teen also needs to pass an eye exam, and written and behind-the-wheel driving exams.

License Restrictions. With a graduated license, the teen cannot drive between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5 a.m. for the first sixth months of holding the license. However, this restriction does not apply when:

  • the driver is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian and who is sitting in the front seat
  • the driver is driving to or from work and home
  • the driver is driving directly home after a school or religious activity, or
  • driving in an emergency.

Also, a minor cannot have more than one passenger under the age of 18 in the car for the first six months. This rule doesn’t apply if the passengers are siblings of the driver or if the driver’s parent or legal guardian is sitting in the seat next to the teen.

Teens are also prohibited from using a cellphone while driving during the first six months of having a license. But teens may use cellphones during an emergency if it is impossible to stop or if they are simply using the phone’s turn-by-turn navigation.

Parents Responsible for damages a Minor Causes while Driving

Under Arizona law, the parent or legal guardian who signs the minor’s license application is jointly and severally liable with the minor for any damage the minor causes by negligence or willful misconduct. If the parent is married, the parent binds his or her spouse to be responsible for damages the minor causes. But a parent or guardian is not liable for such damages if there is issuance covering the minor in at least the minimum amounts required by law.

Insurance Coverage Requirements

In Arizona, all drivers must be covered under liability insurance. All liability policies must include at least $15,000 bodily injury per person, $30,000 bodily injury per accident, and $10,000 property damage per accident

Failure to Provide Proof of Insurance. Failure to provide and display valid insurance is a civil offense. For a first offense, the driver is looking at a $500 fine and a three-month license suspension.

Providing Evidence of Insurance in Court. If a driver provides evidence that at the time of the citation the driver was insured, then the judge will generally dismiss the citation.

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