The distracted driving legislation that was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey back in April 2017 is scheduled to take effect on Sunday, June 30.
The impending law prohibits those with a Graduated Driver License (GDL) from using wireless communication devices, like cellphones, while driving with the exception of emergencies, or using the devices specifically for turn-by-turn voice directions. But, drivers must be pulled over for another traffic violation first before being cited.
Michelle Donati, spokeswoman for AAA Arizona said, “GDL laws are about protecting teen drivers, giving them time to develop their driving skills in low-risk settings. Our hope is that (the new law) will spark a new dialogue about road safety with families and ultimately create safer roads for everyone.”
According the NHTSA, taking five seconds to send or read a text while driving 55 mph is like traveling the length of a football field with your eyes closed. 3,450 people were killed in 2016 in the US from distracted drivers with teens being the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
ADOT Director John Halikowski suggested several things that can be done to help keep drivers’ eyes on the road and not their phones including: not texting someone you know is driving, engaging the “do not disturb while driving” feature on your smartphone and keeping your hand free of food, drinks and anything else that pulls your attention away from driving.