More than 3,000 people each year are killed by distracted driving, and using a cell phone is a sadly common – and mostly preventable – distraction.
What makes using a cell phone while driving so dangerous? What is the Arizona Hands-Off Law? How can you stop distracted driving? Can you sue somebody who hit you while texting and driving?
Here’s what you need to know about cell phone use and distracted driving. If you live in the Phoenix area and lost a loved one or were injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, schedule a No Cost No Obligation Legal Strategy Session with Wade & Nysather AZ Accident Attorneys today.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is doing another activity that takes a driver’s focus away from the task of driving, which can increase the chance of getting into a crash. There are three main types of distraction:
- Cognitive: Taking your mind off driving
- Manual: Taking your hands off the steering wheel
- Visual: Taking your eyes off the road
Using a cell phone frequently involves all three of these, especially when the driver is not using hands-free technology.
The Arizona Hands-Off Law
Did you know that in the Grand Canyon State, it’s illegal to text or talk on a cell phone while driving unless the device is in hands-free mode? The Arizona Hands-Off Law went into effect in January 2021 and makes it illegal to use any stand-alone electronic device (including smartphones, tablets, and gaming or music devices) unless it’s in hands-free mode.
It is now illegal to do any of the following while driving:
- Write, read, or send a message via any portable wireless communication device
- Hold or support a device with your body (including perched on your shoulder or held in your hands)
- Watch or record videos, scroll social media, or use a device in any way that requires the use of your hands or body and causes a distraction
You are allowed to:
- Use a device for navigation of the vehicle
- Engage or disengage functions like starting or ending a call or starting a GPS route
- Use a device to report a crime or summon help in an emergency
- Talk on the phone using a headphone device, earpiece, Bluetooth, or other hands-free technology
Texting or otherwise using your phone while driving is a primary offense (meaning you can be pulled over for it) and is subject to fines and potential jail time, especially if you cause a crash that results in serious injury or death.
Why Cell Phones Are So Distracting
There are many reasons why cell phones are the ultimate cause of distracted driving. For all these reasons, many experts suggest keeping your cell phone in your glove compartment or trunk while driving – or at least putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb Mode” – to help keep you and others on the road safe.
That’s because answering a text takes away your attention for about 5 seconds. Traveling at 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Even when you use a hands-free device, talking on the phone takes your attention away from driving enough to cause a distraction. Try to avoid making or receiving calls while driving. If you can’t, at least use a hands-free device and remember to consciously pay attention to the road while talking.
Scrolling through playlists or shuffling through apps to find the perfect song to fit the mood takes a driver’s attention away from the road. Choose your perfect playlist before you put your car into gear, or have your passengers control the music while you focus on the task of driving.
GPS can be incredibly helpful in getting you where you’re going. However, messing with a navigation system while driving takes your focus away from the road. Make sure you get your navigation program running before you start driving, and if you must make changes, try to pull over to a safe location first rather than taking your eyes off the road.
Although scrolling through social media while stuck in traffic may seem harmless, drivers can experience the “Hangover Effect,” which is a mental distraction that can last up to 27 seconds after a driver uses their mobile device. Stop-and-go traffic can become more dangerous than you might expect when the “Hangover Effect” causes you not to hit the brakes in time to avoid hitting the car in front of you.
Can I Sue if I Was Injured by Somebody Who Was Texting and Driving?
If you were involved in a car accident with somebody who was texting or otherwise manipulating their phone while driving and suffered serious injuries, you may be able to sue them and hold them liable for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Every case is different, so schedule your No Cost No Obligation Legal Strategy Session with the experienced Phoenix injury attorneys at Wade & Nysather today to find out whether you can sue and how much money you may be owed.
Can I Sue if My Loved One Was Killed by Somebody Who Was Using Their Phone While Driving?
If your spouse, child, or parent was killed in a car crash caused by somebody who was using their phone while driving, you may be able to sue that driver for wrongful death.
Wrongful death cases can be complicated, so start with a No Cost No Obligation Legal Strategy Session with the expert Scottsdale wrongful death lawyers at Wade & Nysather today.
Injured or Lost a Loved One Due to a Distracted Driver? Contact an Arizona Car Accident Attorney Today
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, they may owe you compensation for medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and more. If you live in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Mesa, or the surrounding area, schedule a No Cost No Obligation Legal Strategy Session today.