Let’s face it: We’re overwhelmed with potential distractions when we’re on the road. Rubbernecking at that fender-bender. Answering an urgent call from the boss. And wolfing down breakfast while rushing the kids to school.
While these may seem like mundane things that are of no concern while we’re behind the wheel, think about this grim fact: Distractions like these claimed the lives of at least 39 people on Arizona roadways in 2020.
Is that worthy of your attention?
ADOT is reminding drivers of how important it is to pay attention while on the road as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. While it’s important to avoid distractions at any time of year, this is a good time for all of us to think about what can happen when we become distracted in our vehicles.
Fatalities are just part of the danger. At least 8,110 crashes were attributed to distracted driving in Arizona in 2020, according to data collected by ADOT. And the number of distracted driving crashes and fatalities may be much higher because drivers may not admit to being distracted — or because the drivers die in a collision.
Drivers face consequences even if their distracted driving doesn’t result in a crash. Since 2021, Arizona drivers can face civil penalties because it is illegal for drivers to use handheld mobile devices like cell phones or tablets while behind the wheel. Fines range between $75 and $149 for the first violation, and additional violations can be as much as $250.
If you, or maybe a friend who is known to be easily distracted behind the wheel, need any more reminders of the dangers of distracted driving, check out ADOT’s “Distracted Drivers Terrify Me” campaign.
And the next time you’re on the road, remember to focus on the road so you get to your destination safely.
Garin Groff is a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation. Visit azdot.gov.
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