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Undercover police ruse: Are some drivers really that oblivious?

Unquestionably, Arizona bucks the national trend — indeed, the intractable reality — regarding motorists’ use of cell phones while driving.

As noted in an online overview of state sanctions imposed upon violators, well, they’re really aren’t many to speak of.

For starters, and as noted in that primer, “There is no handheld cell phone ban for drivers.”

Concomitantly, there lacks any ban against the practice of texting while behind the wheel, excepting some local variances that pertain to select areas like Phoenix and Tucson.

For myriad reasons, there is much opposition within the state to the same type and level of rigorous restrictions that limit motorists’ use of phones — and flatly bar the practice of texting — in many other states.

A number of people in Arizona might change their minds — that is, ratchet up their level of disapproval — regarding the use of mobile devices while driving if they took a really hard look at just how addictive and dangerous texting and related activities can be for drivers maneuvering through traffic.

Here’s an indication of just how distracting texting can be, brought courtesy of texting-related news forthcoming from a police department in neighboring California, where texting laws are draconian by Arizona standards.

Police in one community in that state recently stood beside highway ramps, posing as undercover panhandlers. The signs they carried actually conveyed the quite explicit message that they were cops on the lookout for texting violators.

No one seemed to notice. In fact, one officer related that he “made 13-14 stops and out of all of them, only one woman said she noticed and read the sign.”

Tellingly, officers were often able to simply walk right up to stopped cars and confront texting drivers who were blissfully unaware of their presence.

Is that not more than just a bit frightening?

There is no dearth of empirical evidence that points conclusively to driver texting as being a frequent — and, sometimes, tragically sad — catalyst spurring fatal motor vehicle accidents.

Isn’t it discomforting for readers to know that, when they are out driving, some motorists in surrounding lanes are not routinely focused on the task at hand because of their simultaneous engagement in an unquestionably distracting activity?

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