29 Dec text and driving
Texting and Driving: Eyes Up, Phone Down
What happens when you text and drive?
Every day on the roads, distracted drivers are looking at their cell phones. Whether texting, viewing social media, watching videos, or looking for directions, the dangers are real and deadly.
While distracted driving includes any activity that diverts your attention away from the road, including playing with the stereo or eating, the biggest distraction is our cell phones. Consider that reading or sending a text message will cause you to take your eyes off the road for five seconds on average. At a speed of 55 MPH, you would drive the equivalent of a football field with your eyes closed.
Text and drive statistics show that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2012 through 2019, over 26,000 people have been killed as a result of distracted driving. On average, distracted driving results in almost 300,000 crashes annually and numbers increase each year.
Text and driving law (Is it legal to text and drive?)
In 2021, law enforcement in Arizona became able to issue citations and fines to drivers violating Arizona’s distracted driving law. Arizona’s law bans the use of cell phones while driving (A.R.S. 28-914). The law forbids holding (or supporting with any part of your body – i.e., propping the phone up with a shoulder) a “portable wireless communication device.” Use of the portable device would include talking on the phone; writing, reading, or sending text-based messages (including instant messages and email); watching/recording videos, or scrolling social media. Under A.R.S. 28-914, distracted driving is a primary offense meaning an officer can pull over a driver if a driver is observed with a mobile device in their hand while driving.
The Arizona distracted driving law requires a fine of at least $75 (but no more than $149) for the first offense and at least $150 (but no more than $250) for the second and all subsequent violations.
If distracted driving results in a crash causing serious bodily injury or death, a driver can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. (A.R.S. 28-672). Conviction of the misdemeanor could result in the suspension of the driver’s license for at least 90 to 180 days for serious injury and 180 days to one year for violations resulting in death. (A.R.S. 28-672)
It is too soon to tell whether citations and fines issued to drivers violating A.R.S. 28-914 have curbed the use of cell phones while driving or reduced crashes caused by distracted driving. It seems debatable as, anecdotally, every day we continue to see drivers talking on cell phones and looking at their phones while driving.
What are some solutions for texting and driving?
When driving, consider using Bluetooth, hands-free options for your cell phone. If you must use your phone, consider the following safety tips:
- Pullover to a safe location and park before texting, making, or receiving a call.
- Consider having a passenger act as a designated texter or navigator to read maps and provide directions.
- Resist the temptation altogether by putting your phone in the glove box or trunk
Sadly, the attorneys at Bleaman Law Firm have seen an increase in crashes that appear to be caused by distracted driving. These crashes result in serious injuries to our clients while rarely, if ever, is the at-fault driver charged with the civil, distracted driving offense let alone criminal charges.
Many people think they are exempt from the risks of distracted driving. Too many think they can glance down for a moment and still maintain control of the car. The distracted driver rarely appreciates the serious risk to themselves, their passengers, and everyone else on the road.
Be safe, the text can wait. Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings and keep their attention on the road—not on their cell phones or other mobile devices. There is nothing important enough in that text message to risk ruining your life or someone’s else life. Drive now, text later!
If you have been involved in a car accident with a distracted driver, you may want to read our blog ->when to hire a personal injury lawyer<-