Looking into Arizona's Stupid Motorist Law

Looking into Arizona's Stupid Motorist Law

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APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. -

Rescue crews throughout the valley spent the past two days pulling people to safety after their cars got stuck in rushing and rising water.

Some of these drivers were caught off guard -- others decided to take a risk. But which of these can be classified as "stupid motorists" under Arizona's law?

The stupid motorist law was passed to keep people from driving into flooded streets and washes. So you might think all these people would be cited.

Not necessarily.

It's a scene we've seen a lot over the past weekend -- motorists having to be rescued due to rising flood waters. So who foots the bill for these rescues -- and when? We found out.

As the flood waters began to rise, these two teens documented every minute of their helicopter rescue

The two drove into the rising flood water in their Bronco. When the current became too much, they had to call for help.

As he touched down -- he's greeted by his smiling friend. But they may not be smiling when the driver of the Bronco is slapped with a misdemeanor reckless driving charge -- which the Apache Junction Police is recommending.

But why only a reckless driving charge-- and no charges under Arizona's highly publicized 'stupid motorist law'?

"The law strictly says there must be barricades set up and you may not go around the barricades," says MCSO Deputy Joaquin Enriquez.

Enriquez is not involved in this particular case, but says a driver who crosses into a flooded area despite barricades and signs warning of the potential danger will be responsible to pay for their own rescue.

"What it's doing is causing you to stop, it's causing you to think, it's causing you to have better judgment."

'Stupid motorist law' is designed to not only protect motorists -- but first responders.

"There's a helicopter and we're running that $600 an hour, you've got the deputies out there, you've got the fire department out there, it adds up quick."

It's not known how many people have actually been cited by the Arizona's 'stupid motorist law.'

Many of the law enforcement officers we spoke to today say it has helped prevent first responders from going into harm's way.

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