Arizona

Arrive Alive, Never Text and Drive: How to Avoid Distractions While Driving

May 27, 2021

It is widely known that texting while driving and other distracted driving behaviors can have disastrous consequences. People can suffer injures, lives get turned upside down, and tragically, loved ones are lost forever.  It’s no surprise that Arizona and other states have enacted cell phone driving laws to discourage cell phone use on the roadways. Notwithstanding these national efforts, distracted driving deaths are still on the rise.  According to the National Highway Safety Administration, an estimated 3,142 people were killed as a result of distracted driving crashes in 2019. That number is a 9.9% increase over 2018 distracted driving estimates- resulting in an additional 284 fatalities, year-over-year.

A quick glance at the news often reveals tragic distracted-driving related headlines like these:

Sadly, each of these, and other similar incidents, are undoubtedly avoidable. Given that Arizona is home to one of the most dangerous highways in the United States—currently fourth—it is important to take steps to protect yourself, your loved ones, and other drivers from the dangers associated with distracted-driving.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

 1. NEVER TEXT AND DRIVE- NEVER USE YOUR HANDS

Several studies have shown that using a cell phone while driving is dangerous, and safety advocates across the country call for a complete ban on cell phone use while driving. Completely banning cell phones isn’t realistic given that people use cell phones for GPS, digital assistants, music players, phone calls, and more. Still, cell phone technology available to us today affords plenty of options for safer driving.

  2. USE DRIVING MODE

Both Apple and Android phones have software that that helps a driver’s eyes off their phone and on the road.  Both options allow users to access phone calls, ask questions, and have text messages read aloud.

Apple: Do Not Disturb While Driving:

  • Do Not Disturb While Driving helps you stay focused on the road. When you turn it on, text messages and other notifications are silenced or limited. You can ask Siri to read replies to you, so you don’t have to look at your iPhone. Incoming calls are allowed only when iPhone is connected to Apple CarPlay—a car Bluetooth system—or a hands-free accessory, or when you use Do Not Disturb settings to allow certain calls.

Android: Google Assistant Driving Mode:

  • Google Assistant driving mode helps you get things done while you navigate with Google Maps. With Assistant driving mode you can read and send messages, make calls, and control media with your voice, without leaving Google Maps navigation or touching your cell phone at all.

3. USE A HANDS-FREE DEVICE

A recent study by AAA found the association of cell phone conversation alone and car crashes to be statistically insignificant.  The real problem is when phones are in a drivers hands. The study found:

  • Drivers’ odds of crashing nearly doubled when they were engaging in all forms of visual-manual cell phone tasks.
  • Visual-Manual interaction tripled a drivers’ odds of involvement in a road departure crash.
  • Increased drivers’ odds of rear-ending the vehicle ahead by more than a multiple of seven.

While in a perfect world every driver’s entire focus would be on the road.  The use of hands-free devices is endorsed by many in the driving safety community. Ian Reagan, an Insurance Institute Highway Safety senior research scientist, notes in an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety report on distracted driving, that it is possible to reduce distraction with the right tools, like voice command. Small, inexpensive tools like cell phone vent holders can also be useful to help reduce visual-manual cell phone use, which can help reduce distracted driving crashes and injuries.

At Torgenson Law we encourage all drivers to avoid distraction and keep their eyes on the road.  But, if you or a loved one fall victim to a distracted-drier related crash, contact us today to discuss how we can help you on your road to recovery.