AZ Cracked Windshield Law
Regardless of where you live, you need to follow the local laws if you want to drive legally. Therefore, you must know the laws of the area before moving to an area or traveling through it. Like with most states, Arizona has laws that dictate what your vehicle must have before you can drive it. Having a proper windshield is one of those requirements. This requirement exists because it protects you from incoming collisions, but it is also fragile compared to other areas of the vehicle. Thus, you need to understand Arizona's cracked windshield law if something smacks into it.
Arizona Requirements for Safety
Before we can discuss what to do with a cracked windscreen, we must first learn the specifics of AZ laws that define what is legal and what is not. The state requires all vehicles to have an "adequate" windshield with a few exceptions:
- Your motorcycle, golf cart, or ATV does not need one if you purchased it before June 17, 1998
- You do not need one on classic, antique vehicles or horseless-carriage-style cars.
Every other type of vehicle needs to have a safety glass installed securely. Safety glass is tempered and treated to prevent the shattering or the "flying" of glass when it is struck or broken. Arizona also requires all vehicles, except for golf carts, to have driver-controlled windshield wipers in good working condition.
Windshield Damage Laws
While every vehicle needs an "adequate" windscreen, what that actually means depends on your situation and the discretion of the police officer that pulls you over. Arizona does not have any specific law that makes it illegal if your glass has minor cracks and chips in it. All the state wants is for you to have nothing obstructing your view while driving. However, there are a few federal vehicle regulations that you must follow.
These federal requires include:
- You cannot have multiple cracks that intersect each other.
- Chips, cracks, and other forms of damage must be smaller than ¾ of an inch.
- Damage areas cannot be within three inches of each other.
- You cannot have damage or discoloration in the center of the windshield.
- One crack is okay if it is not connected to any other crack, chip, or damage areas.
These regulations exist for your safety. Your windscreen does more than just let you see outside while driving. It also supports the structure of your vehicle. For instance, the it prevents the roof of your vehicle from caving in during a rollover. It also keeps your air bags in place so they can deploy properly. It does this by acting as a force-re-distributor. It redirects the force of front-end collisions around you instead of right towards you and your passenger. However, even small cracks or chips can reduce the integrity of the glass especially with significant increases or drops in temperature (hot or cold).
Arizona Law: At The Officer's Discretion
Arizona law 28-957.01 does not provide exact measurements or details on what it means by "adequate windshield" and "visual impairment". Because of this, police officers are free to interpret the law as they see fit. An officer must use discretion and has the authority to decide if your obstruction is unlawful enough to require replacement and a potential citation. They have to do this based on their opinion and the safety of the driver, passengers, and others nearby. In other words, if the crack will distract you or prevent you from seeing hazards on the road, you can get pulled over and a ticket for it.
Violation Tickets and Fines
If a police offer stops you and gives you a citation for not complying with Arizona's windshield laws, you will be subject to a fine. The tickets will vary in price from county to county, as each can determine their own violation amounts. You will need a certified glass technician to assist if the police officer says it warrants an inspection or your wipers are not working properly.
Will My Insurance Provider Fix the Damage?
Local residents typically have two types of insurance options when it comes to their vehicle glass. Comprehensive coverage is the cheaper option but has a deductible you must pay before your insurance will "foot the bill". Full coverage means your provider will take care of any and all damage including the fees for a brand new installation. You should get the coverage that matches your risk for cracks and chips. If you tend to drive frequently on our Valley freeways, having full coverage makes the most sense as there are many impediments that get blown onto these areas and then kicked up from vehicle traffic.
How to Ensure You Stay Compliant
Cracks can vary in size, impact speed, and their type of impediment. Since you are on borrowed time if your glass has cracks, you should look into how to fix them as soon as possible. Considering an option, such as our SunTec windshield repair service, will not only keep your vehicle compliant but also reduce your risk for eye strain while you drive.
If you are still not sure about your automobile needs, don't hesitate to contact our customer service representatives as soon as possible. We can help you evaluate your situation, and offer advice on how you can remain in compliance with both state and federal windshield laws. Our SunTec technicians can also fix or replace any type of damage to your glass so you can always have a clear view of the road.