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Arizona marks 741 car crashes caused by distracted driving in 2017

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)

PHOENIX — Arizona has reported 741 car crashes that may have been caused by distracted driving in 2017, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Quentin Mehr, a spokesman for the department, said distracted driving is simply “anything that takes your eyes off the road,” which includes texting, talking on the phone or even eating while driving.

“It can also be something as small as changing the radio station or changing your air conditioning setting,” Mehr said. “Those things that are taking your eyes off the road.”

Arizona doesn’t have a law against distracted driving. But there are city ordinances that address distracted driving, which may include unsafe lane use, speeding, tailgating, impeding traffic, driving too slow or failing to use the turn signal.

Mehr said DPS troopers are constantly looking for distracted drivers on the road. When they see a violation, they take appropriate action, including giving drivers citations or warnings.

He also advises the public to report distracted drivers by dialing 911

“My message to drivers would be when you’re behind the wheel of a car [is] be aware of what you’re doing and take responsibility for your actions,” Mehr said.

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