When we first learn how to drive, we exhibit caution in everything we do behind the wheel. As we get more comfortable, our actions might begin to get complacent. We might reach for something in the back seat or have some breakfast on our way to work. Little by little, we begin to normalize these actions and their lack of safety. Unfortunately, all it takes is for one of these actions to distract us long enough to find ourselves in a dangerous situation with incredible impacts.
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the road. While cell phone use may be the most common form of distracted driving, other actions like reaching for objects, talking with a passenger, looking for directions, or switching a song can all create a dangerous situation on the road. Compared to adults, teen drivers are at a higher risk of finding themselves in an unsafe driving situation. Data from the 2018 Arizona Youth Survey found that 50% of high school seniors reported driving in a vehicle while texting or talking on the phone. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds, at 55 mph, that equates to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. Create a habit of driving safely for yourself and your teens by doing the following:
Respond to any text messages or phone calls before you get in your vehicle.
Set up your navigation, air conditioning, and music before you pull out of your parking space.
Update your phone settings to driving mode to prevent alerts from distracting you on the road.
Speak up if you’re in the car with someone who is on their phone, eating or behaving recklessly while in the driver’s seat.
Set a good example for teens and other drivers by focusing on the road and getting to your destination safely. Keep tasks unrelated to driving out of reach and out of mind. Driving is a serious responsibility that can change your life and that of those around you. Help reduce the risk of distracted driving by acting responsibly and creating safe habits.
To learn more visit, MaricopaCountyAttorney.org/DistractedDriving