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Arizona planning to crack down on distracted drivers

Arizona police agencies recently announced a plan to crack down on distracted drivers by issuing tickets and fines.
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    January 18, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Arizona planning to crack down on distracted drivers

Article provided by The Mercaldo Law Firm
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The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) recently announced plans for a full-scale campaign to crack down on the thousands of distracted drivers hitting the state's roads each day. The campaign is set to begin in January of 2014, and will involve Arizona Highway Patrol officers pulling over and citing drivers using cell phones and texting while behind the wheel.

Some critics of the new approach to stopping cell phone use or texting while driving argue that such a campaign is illegal due to the fact that the state doesn't have a current ban on texting or using a hand-held cell phone behind the wheel. In fact, the state does have an anti-texting law, but it is limited to bus drivers, who aren't allowed to talk on a hand-held cell phone or text while operating their oversized vehicles. The DPS counters that argument by announcing their intention to use existing driving laws like speeding, driving too fast for conditions, weaving, switching lanes without signaling, etc., to cite drivers and, at the same time, remind them about the importance of focusing their full attention on the road.

Why focus on texting?

Distracted driving is not a new phenomenon. For years now, some drivers have chosen to drive while doing a number of other tasks, including:
-Switching a CD or finding a new radio station
-Reading a map or GPS system

The thing about those distractions is that, while they take a portion of the driver's attention off the road, they are fairly "mindless" tasks. Swilling coffee from a travel cup doesn't involve a great deal of brain power and is done in an instant. That's not to say that driving while distracted by anything isn't dangerous, but there is a lower level of danger associated with those types of tasks than with text messaging.

Why? Because text messaging is not only a physical distraction (causing the driver to take at least one hand off the wheel) and a visual distraction (causing the driver to take his eyes off the road), it is a cognitive distraction that involves careful consideration of words and characters and the brain capacity to form coherent responses. Text messaging takes a driver's eyes off the road for seconds at a time, making him or her essentially drive blind at freeway speeds. That is inherently dangerous and could easily cause a serious motor vehicle accident. It also takes the driver's hands off the wheel, resulting in a slower response time should traffic conditions suddenly change.

Campaign's impact unknown

Since the campaign has just begun, only time will tell if it has any success at convincing Arizona drivers to put down their phones and keep their attention on the road. In the meantime, though, every texting driver has the potential of causing an accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident with a distracted driver, and you need help holding the at-fault driver accountable for his or her actions, seek the advice of an experienced Arizona personal injury attorney.

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