4
| News |

Distracted Driving Causing Crashes in Arizona, but Cell Phones Not the Biggest Cause

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

People who text and drive are notoriously bad drivers, but according to recent crash statistics, most accidents caused by distracted driving don't involve cell phone use.

As part of Distracted Driving Awareness month, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) released the results of car accident information they collected from November 2013 to April 2014.

According to DPS' information, of the 10,166 total crashes in that time period, 1,163 were distracted driver crashes (around 11 percent). Ten people were killed and 380 were injured as a result of distracted driving.

"These numbers are saddening and are the exact reason why DPS is committed to enforcing existing laws on driving behavior related to distracted driving," the DPS report says.

Although cell phone use typically comes to mind when discussing distracted driving, it's not the leading cause of distracted driving accidents. "Outside distractions" was the leading cause, accounting for over 22 percent of the accidents. Reaching for objects within the vehicle was the second cause, at around 11 percent, followed closely by cell phone use, also around 11 percent, as the cause of 127 crashes.

States across the nation have been cracking down on distracted driving with legislation in the last few years, but Arizona is one of five states without a statewide distracted driving law. As of now, Arizona school bus drivers are banned from using cell phones whilst on the job, and both Phoenix and Tucson implemented fines for texting while driving. But even so, awareness rather than laws may be the key to preventing distracted driving.

"Although [Arizona] has DUI laws, we still have folks that get behind the wheel impaired," DPS spokesman Raul Garcia says. "The [distracted driving] laws help for having a specific violation to write, but I can't speak to laws specific to Arizona because they don't exist."

Although legislation addressing distracted driving has been introduced in Arizona, many of the bills have failed in the past. Only one of the five bills introduced this session, HB 2359, is still alive. The bipartisan-backed HB 2359 would ban drivers with learner's permits from using cell phones while driving, as well as in the first six months of receiving a driver's license.

The bill passed out of the House, and is currently awaiting a Senate vote.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.