PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Public Safety is cracking down on distracted driving after a five-month study showed some alarming numbers.
The study took place between November 2013 and April 1, 2014, and according to DPS, 10 people were killed and another 380 were injured as a result of distracted driving during that time.
DPS officer and spokesman Carrick Cook said despite what people may think, distracted driving is more than just cell phone use.
“One of the things that we are trying to get rid of is the term ‘texting and driving,'” said Cook. “That’s not distracted driving, that’s an element of it.”
Cook said the study showed most distracted driving occurs from outside distractions, which are anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road. One of the most common outside distractions can be from other accidents on the road.
“The person that’s driving by that’s looking at the crash and not the road in front of them,” Cook said. “That’s an outside distraction.”
DPS is working the campaign to increase enforcement and awareness of distracted driving, led by the slogan “Highways don’t kill, but distracted driving will.”
Cook added that drivers need to pay more attention and understand that their vehicle can be a weapon.
“We want people to be aware when they’re driving,” Cook said. “We want people to understand that when you’re driving a vehicle, you’re literally operating a deadly weapon.”
The study showed that out of 10,166 crashes during the five-month study, 1,163 of those were due to distracted driving totaling 11.44 percent.