If you’re under age 18 and driving the streets of Arizona after dark, take note: many cities throughout Arizona have young driver curfews, which define when you can be out and about without a parent as a new driver.
Teenage Driver Safety Act
This act went into effect in July 2008, imposing curfew and passenger restrictions on any driver under age 18 for the first six months of their new driver license issuance for their “Class G Driver License”. The new licensee cannot drive from midnight to 5 a.m. on a public highway, per the curfew restriction associated with this act. However, if the new driver is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian—who has a Class A, B, C or D license—or, if the new driver is going to or from a school activity, work, a religious event or dealing with a family emergency, those are exceptions.
In addition to the curfew restrictions, there are also passenger restrictions. These new Class G drivers cannot operate a vehicle on a public highway with more than one passenger under age 18, at any time. The exceptions to this clause are (1) if the passengers are the driver’s siblings, or (2) if there’s a parent or legal guardian in the car, too.
Should a new Class G driver violate these restrictions, they’ll be susceptible to fines (a maximum of $75), and their curfew may be extended for another 30 days. If they continue to violate the guidelines, the fine will increase ($100), and the curfew will be further extended for an additional 60 days. And, if violations continue, then there’s the risk of license suspension.
Other city curfew restrictions
Additionally, Arizona cities have general curfew laws that apply to those under age 18. Every city or town’s curfew comes with it unique restrictions, exceptions or penalties. These curfews are outlined in each respective city’s “City Code” or “Municipal Code”. For a general rule of thumb, you can be out past your curfew if you’re with your parent or guardian, or you’re with another adult and you have permission from your parent or guardian. You may also be out past curfew if you’re going to, or returning from, work, involved in an emergency, or you’re in the military. And of course, if you’re just out in your neighborhood—on the sidewalk right in front of your home or visiting a neighbor, that’s okay, too.
The nuances of curfew laws vary across Arizona cities, but there are some popular guidelines that many cities follow. For example, Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Phoenix, Queen Creek and Scottsdale and Tempe all have very similar laws: If you’re under age 16, you cannot be outside without adult supervision between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.; if you’re between ages 16 and 18, you cannot be outside without adult supervision between midnight and 5 a.m. In Surprise, however, minors under age 18 may not be in a city public place between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, or between midnight and 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Young drivers should take these curfew laws seriously. Should they violate these curfew laws, they may be held at a local police station and/or they may be ticketed; a curfew violation is considered a misdemeanor offense. You may be required to pay a fine or perform community service. Additionally, your parent or guardian may also receive a citation.
Have a question about young drivers or curfews? Ask us in the comments!