Will Arizona See Distracted Driving Laws?
Article provided by Phoenix Personal Injury Attorneys - Solomon & Relihan
Recent studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automobile Association of America (AAA) indicate that distracted drivers pose as much of a danger to other motorists as do drunk drivers:
††† * Driving while using a cell phone slows down a personís reaction time just as much as having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 (the legal limit in the United States), according to a study conducted by the University of Utah.
††† * Driving while distracted is a factor in at least 25 percent of all auto accidents, and drivers that use cell phones are four times more likely to get into a crash that will cause serious injury, notes the NHTSA.
Given these statistics, then, it is curious why laws against distracted driving have been slow to develop and do not offer nearly the deterrent that laws against drunk driving do.
Past Attempts at Distracted Driving Legislation
Several states have instituted laws banning cellular phone usage including text messaging and hands-free equipment usage. Currently, the only bans on cell phone usage in the state of Arizona are for school bus drivers; the city of Phoenix also bans texting while driving, but it is not a statewide law.
According to the website drivinglaws.org, several bills have been discussed by the Arizona Legislature in the last two years. Five separate bills were introduced into the House in the 2009 and 2010 sessions, but none have passed.† These bills included proposals that would regulate text messaging, use of mobile phones for reading and sending emails, general cell phone use behind the wheel and other common driving distractions.
Common Driving Distractions
As the current debate on distracted driving continues, additional legislative attempts will likely be made to regulate common distractions, such as:
††† * Handheld cell phone use. The most common type of cell phone distraction is talking on a handheld cell phone. According to the NHTSA, 500,000 drivers talk on handheld cell phones every day. Talking on handheld cell phones forces drivers to take at least one hand off the wheel and also take their eyes off the road while dialing.
††† * Sending and receiving electronic messages. In the past few years, text messaging and e-mail have become more common on cell phones. Text messaging and e-mailing while driving are possibly even more dangerous than talking on a cell phone, as drivers must take their eyes off the road for longer periods of time.
††† * Hands-free cell phones use. Many drivers believe that using a hands-free device for their cell phone, such as a Bluetooth, is safer than using a handheld cell phone. However, according to a study by the American Automotive Association (AAA), hands-free devices still contribute to inattention.
Until local, state, and federal governments decide to get hard on distracted driving just like they have drunk driving, distracted driving will continue to be a serious problem that can lead to serious injuries and even death.
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Arizona personal injury lawyers for cell phone car accidents are available if you think that a cell phone may have caused or contributed to your injuries, you should talk with an experienced attorney. For a free initial consultation with a lawyer about your car accident, contact the Phoenix law firm by e-mail or by telephone.