The Phoenix DUI Law Blog

Arizona's 'Stupid Motorist Law' Passes the Buck to Drivers

What's causing Arizona motorists to drive straight into heavily flooded areas? Are they drunk, high, or just impatient?

Apparently it happens frequently enough that state legislators felt compelled to act, Fox News reports. Under section 28-910 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, often referred to as the "Stupid Motorist Law," motorists who become stranded after driving around barricades to enter a flooded area can be charged the cost of his or her rescue.

On Thursday, Carmen Fuentes, a driver for Dependable Medical Transport Service, ignored traffic barriers and warning signs to cross a flooded intersection. Fuentes and a wheelchair-bound passenger in her van had to be rescued from the vehicle.

She told police that she had another passenger to pick up and that she saw a smaller car make it through the flooded area. Now, she's been suspended from her job and could face charges under the "Stupid Motorist Law."

According to researcher Ashley Coles, the name of the law is a bit of a misnomer. "The name 'stupid motorists' law' is probably not the most appropriate title for the law," Coles said. "Sometimes it's a very calculated and rational decision and it may just happen to be the wrong one at any given time."

The need for the law came from the heavy rainfall Arizona deserts receive and the general lack of storm sewers in the state. The law passes the buck to the drivers themselves, making them liable for the cost of rescuing them from a flooded area and saving taxpayers a considerable amount of money.

So next time you feel the urge to plow your car into 4 feet of water, resist it and find an alternate route. Your car and your wallet will thank you.

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