Arizona Department of Public Safety to ramp up distracted driving enforcement

Mar 17, 2017, 5:08 AM
In this Wednesday, June 22, 2016, file photo, a driver uses her mobile phone while sitting in traff...

In this Wednesday, June 22, 2016, file photo, a driver uses her mobile phone while sitting in traffic in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Public Safety is renewing enforcement of distracted drivers, focusing on violations such as speeding, following another vehicle too closely and failing to use a turn signal when changing lanes.

“One of the things we have done over the last year is to better track those violations as a result of distracted driving so we can evaluate those numbers to better guide our enforcement efforts,” spokesman DPS Kameron Lee said in an email.

“Our hope is to reduce crashes and save lives by bringing more awareness of the cause and effect of distracted driving,” he said.

Distractions that Lee notices among drivers include eating while driving and interacting with other passengers and cell phone use, which is more common among younger drivers.

“Millennials…grew up texting and having cell phones, and that is more of a habit for them and a common theme for them to have, so maybe we see that with them in the vehicle and feeling comfortable using some of those devices while driving because they have always had one,” Lee said in an interview.

Arizona and Montana are the only two states that do not ban texting while driving for all or most motorists, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. All other states have some form of ban on texting while driving.

Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff ban texting while driving and the only statewide law in Arizona bans school bus drivers from cell phone use. AAA Arizona is advocating for Senate Bill 1080, which would prohibit teen drivers from the use of all wireless communication devices.

A report from the AAA Foundation for Public Safety cited people ages 19 to 24 as the worst-behaved drivers, saying 88 percent have engaged in at least one risky behavior, like texting, while driving in the past 30 days.

More than 35,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2015, a seven percent higher fatality rate than the previous year, the report found. That was the highest year-over-year increase in five decades.

The report also revealed millennials are 1.6 times more likely to read a text message or email while driving, and twice as likely to type or send one.

Nearly 12 percent of millennials also feel driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit in a school zone is acceptable, and nearly half reported driving through a red light.

The results of the report were part of the AAA foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index that identifies driver behaviors and attitudes that, if changed, could reduce injuries and save lives.

“We need drivers to realize that what they do on the road does have an effect and it is very concerning to see that these young millennial drivers are admitting to feeling that these behaviors are okay,” said Kelly Potts, spokeswoman for AAA Arizona.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Phoenix Police Department Photo)...

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Sept. 23-25

Police find more fentanyl, Scottsdale tells HOAs they can't require overseeding and these Phoenix restaurants were highlighted this week.
20 hours ago
(AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)...

Honduras man charged with high-speed flight from Arizona immigration checkpoint

An 18-year-old man from Honduras was charged with high-speed flight from an immigration checkpoint last week, authorities said. 
20 hours ago
FILE - Family members and friends march seeking justice for the missing 43 Ayotzinapa students in M...
Associated Press

The role the Mexican Army had in the 2014 disappearance of 43 students

The Mexican army’s role in the disappearance of 43 college students and its links to organized crime are at the center of a case.
20 hours ago
Tania Estudillo Hernandez. (El Mirage Police Department Photo)...

Woman in El Mirage arrested for managing human smuggling operations

A woman was arrested Friday evening for her role in a human smuggling operation based in El Mirage, authorities said.
20 hours ago
(Pixabay Photo)...

Phoenix police shoot, kill man throwing rocks at patrol car

Phoenix police are investigating an officer-involved shooting after a man throwing rocks at a patrol car died Saturday evening.
20 hours ago
(Pixabay Photo)...

Tucson man accused of lying about weapon used in mass shooting

A Tucson man was charged last week for making a false statement to agents during an investigation into a mass shooting, authorities said.
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Arizona Department of Public Safety to ramp up distracted driving enforcement