Driving is arguably one of the riskiest things many of us do every day. One of the reasons for this is that while we might be very good drivers, we are not able to control the behavior of other drivers. Additionally, multitasking divides attention and diminishes how safely a person can operate a moving vehicle. If you are injured in a car accident that was the result of a distracted driver, consider visiting with the experienced Arizona personal injury attorney Chuck Franklin of Chuck Franklin Law. Chuck Franklin answers the phone directly at 480-545-0700 and can help you understand all of your legal rights following a distracted driving accident.
Ways People Become Distracted While Driving
Distracted driving occurs when drivers let something other than driving take their attention from the business of the road. In many cases, drivers do not think that their distracted actions are dangerous, however, any loss of focus while driving increases the chance for an accident.
There are three ways distractions compromise focus and affect the ability to drive safely.
- Visual – A driver may be looking at something inside or outside the vehicle that takes the driver’s eyes off the road.
- Manual – A driver takes hands off the wheel to do something else, such as change the radio station, eat, or drink.
- Cognitive – Allowing the mind to wander too far away from the present activity.
Using a handheld cell phone while driving can involve all three types of distractions – which is why cell phone use while driving has been prohibited or restricted by so many states.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
As many of us know, driving conditions can change quickly at any given moment. The ability to avoid an accident often depends on how rapidly a driver is able to comprehend what is about to happen and then appropriately react to the situation. A distracted driver loses valuable time to confront traffic conditions and make safe decisions quickly. Distracted driving essentially slows down a driver’s ability to:
- Recognize a hazard
- Take evasive action
Many drivers may not be aware of how far a vehicle can travel during a quick glance toward the back seat or a momentary look at a cell phone screen. Research shows that even during a two-second glance away from the road, a car will travel close to 180 feet – 60% of a football field. Once a hazard is identified it will take an additional 359 feet to safely bring the vehicle to a stop. Losing 180 feet of stopping distance can mean the difference between life and death.
Texting and Handheld Device Use While Driving
One of the most common distractions when driving is the use of handheld devices such as cell phones. Over 300 million people in the United States have cell phones and at any given time of day there are 800,000 vehicles being driven by someone using a handheld device, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, NCSL.
Many states have enacted laws restricting cell phone use during driving. In fact, approximately half of the states prohibit all handheld cell phone use during driving. Other states prohibit handheld use by certain drivers or while driving through certain zones. Almost all states prohibit text messaging for all drivers.
Distracted Driving in Arizona
The state of Arizona takes driving while distracted seriously. Currently, it is illegal in the state of Arizona to talk on a cell phone while driving, unless the cell phone is in hands free mode.
The law prohibits handheld cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle and penalties for violating the law are serious and can include hundreds of dollars of fines.
Despite the recent change in law, distracted driving continues to be a growing problem in the state of Arizona, and oftentimes texting while driving or talking on a cell phone while driving can lead to serious accidents, injuries or death.
Activities Allowed in Arizona
It is important to note that Arizona drivers are allowed to talk on their cell phones if they are placed in hands-free mode. However, the following cell phone use is against Arizona law:
- Physically holding a cell phone or mobile device while talking on the phone. This includes propping a cell phone or mobile device on a shoulder or other body part.
- Texting while driving in any capacity (this can include sending a text, instant message, or email on a cell phone or mobile device)
- Watching a video and/or recording a video while driving
However, the following activities are allowed in the state of Arizona while driving:
- Swiping a mobile device screen to either make or accept a phone call
- Talking on a cell phone if it includes using a headphone device, wrist device (such as an Apple watch) or an earpiece
- Using talk to text functions or other voice based communications
- Using a navigation and/or GPS system
- Using a cell phone or mobile device while stopped at a stop light and/or traffic light
- Using a cell phone or mobile device to call 911 in the case of an emergency
What To Do When You Are Injured in a Car Accident with a Distracted Driver
When you are injured in a car accident and you believe the other driver was distracted at the time of the crash you want to make sure and let the police know that you suspect the other driver was distracted. Try to get pictures of the accident site and any other evidence that shows why the other driver was not paying attention when the crash occurred, if possible.
Chuck Franklin Law has been representing clients injured in motor vehicle crashes for decades. Chuck Franklin always answers his phone directly, and will make sure to put his decades of experience to work to help you collect the compensation you are entitled to under the law. Schedule a free consultation with Chuck Franklin directly by calling 480-545-0700 today.