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Using electronic devices while driving common; very risky

Driving at 55 mph while blindfolded over the length of a football field is a risk that Arizona drivers would not take. However, texting and driving takes a motorist’s eyes off the road for four to six seconds, which is equivalent to this type of foolhardy trip, according to a recent report.

The use of electronic devices while driving is prevalent throughout the United States, even though it constitutes one of the worst driving distractions. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration cited observational surveys which found that, at any given moment during daylight hours, more than 100,000 drivers are texting and more than 600,000 motorists are driving while holding a phone to their ears.

More than 3,000 fatalities each year are attributed to this driver inattention, according to the NHTSA. The VTTI also found that engaging in tasks such as using a cell phone or manipulating devices while driving triples the risk of getting into a car accident.

Younger motorists face a greater risk from using electronic devices while driving. Drivers under 25 years old are two to three times likely to send text messages or-mails while driving. The NHTSA also found that ten percent of drivers under 20-years-old involved in fatal accidents were distracted and this age group has the largest proportion of distracted drivers. It is especially disturbing that younger passengers are less likely to object if a driver is texting while driving.

The NHTSA indicated that 39 states have anti-texting laws while 10 states imposed bans on drivers using hand-held telephones while driving. However, Arizona’s primary law only bans all cell phone use for school bus drivers.

Traffic laws do not eliminate reckless or negligent driving. However, there is an increased likelihood of fatalities and injuries because the law affords less protection for Arizona motorists and pedestrians against a distracted driver utilizing electronic devices. Victims of these accidents should seek advice to help assure that their rights are protected.

Source: Distraction.gov, “What is distracted driving?” Retrieved July 28, 2014

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