Personal Injury Lawyers, Gilbert, AZ

Maricopa County Urges Safe Driving Practices Amid Surge in Distracted Driving

Woman texting on cell phone while driving.

April marks Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a critical time to focus on the dangers of distracted driving, both nationally and here in Arizona. Distracted driving leads to thousands of devastating, preventable accidents that result in serious injuries and loss of life every year. To help combat the problem, traffic safety officials in Arizona and across the nation are urging all motorists to stay focused on the road and practice safe driving habits.

Understanding your legal rights after a crash is also important, especially if you were injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver. At Browne Law Group in Gilbert, AZ, attorney Byron Browne and his dedicated legal team understand the challenges crash victims face when dealing with insurance companies. That's why we take a no-bull, no-nonsense approach that has been proven to get real results. If you were injured by a distracted driver in Maricopa County, we can fight for every dollar you deserve.

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What is considered distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from the primary task of safely operating a vehicle. These distractions can be categorized into three types, each affecting driving in different ways:

  • Visual Distractions: These involve taking your eyes off the road. For example, looking at a phone to read a text message not only diverts your visual focus but can significantly increase the risk of an accident.
  • Manual Distractions: These occur when hands are taken off the wheel. Reaching for an object in the backseat is a common example that compromises vehicle control.
  • Cognitive Distractions: These distractions take your mind off the task of driving. Daydreaming or being absorbed in deep thought while driving can be cognitively distracting, making it difficult to react swiftly to road conditions or hazards.

Texting while driving is particularly hazardous as it involves all three types of distractions. When a driver looks at their phone to read or send a text, they are visually and cognitively distracted. Holding the phone or typing the message also involves manual distraction. Remember, your margin for error is small when driving a motor vehicle. Reading or sending a text for just 5 seconds while driving at 55 mph is the same as driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

Arizona's distracted driving laws

The distracted driving laws in Arizona are designed to reduce behaviors that compromise road safety. According to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, holding a device with any part of the body is illegal, including using your hands or resting the device on your shoulder.

The law strictly prohibits activities such as reading, writing, or sending messages via portable electronic devices. Moreover, scrolling through social media, watching videos, recording videos, or engaging in any other use of the device that causes a distraction and necessitates physical interaction is also forbidden.

In Arizona, texting while driving is considered a primary offense. This designation allows law enforcement officers to stop drivers solely for texting and driving. Those found violating this law face civil penalties, including:

  • First violation: A fine ranging from $75 to $149.
  • Second or subsequent violation: A fine ranging from $150 to $250.

Furthermore, if a distracted driving violation results in a motor vehicle accident causing serious injury or death, the offender may face criminal penalties. These can include up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $2,500.

Tips to prevent distracted driving

A distracted driver is a hazard to everyone on the road. To promote safer driving, here are some practical tips for drivers to prevent distractions:

  • Prepare Before You Drive: Ensure all text messages are sent, navigation is set, and vehicle adjustments are made before you start driving. Handling these tasks while driving can significantly distract you from the road.
  • Pull Over Safely for Urgent Tasks: If you must take a call, respond to a text, or check an email, do not attempt this while driving. Instead, find a safe place to pull over and park your car before using your phone.
  • Minimize Phone Distractions: If you find your phone too distracting, consider turning it off while driving or placing it out of reach, such as in the backseat or trunk. This is especially important to remember when the engine is running, to avoid the temptation to check your device impulsively.
  • Encourage Passenger Assistance: If you're driving with passengers, encourage them to help with tasks that might divert your attention from driving. They can manage the GPS, handle phone calls, or respond to messages on your behalf.
  • Use Technology Wisely: Many modern vehicles come equipped with hands-free technology that allows you to make calls or send messages through voice commands. Familiarize yourself with these features and set them up before your trip to minimize physical interaction with devices.

By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with distracted driving. Remember, the primary responsibility of a driver is the safety of all passengers and fellow road users. Keeping distractions to a minimum is key to fulfilling this responsibility effectively.

Send negligent drivers a strong message

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving a distracted driver in Maricopa County, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer immediately.

At Browne Law Group, we believe in providing straightforward, no-nonsense legal guidance and standing up to insurance company bullies. Attorney Byron Browne and his dedicated legal team know how to find the facts that matter to a case and can help you hold the at-fault driver accountable for their negligence.

Don't wait—let the Anti-Lawyer Lawyer handle your case and fight for the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To learn more, schedule your free consultation today.

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