Arizona DPS on the lookout for distracted drivers

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by azfamily.com

azfamily.com

Posted on April 5, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Updated Saturday, Apr 5 at 9:40 PM

PHOENIX -- Arizona is joining other states in cracking down on distracted driving on highways.

Officers with the Department of Public Safety and other law enforcement agencies are working to bring collision numbers down by 15 percent. One way they’re trying to reach that goal is by asking drivers to focus on the road.

DPS Officer Craig Baum spent one evening on Interstate 10 focused on distracted drivers during rush hour.

"It’s not just cellphone use," Baum said. "You could be eating a hamburger, putting on makeup, just talking to the people that are in the car, and not paying attention to the roadway."

Though the state does not ban talking or texting on the road, officers can still cite drivers for speed not reasonable and prudent.

Baum stopped and cited one man who repeatedly put his head down while driving. The man said he was looking down so he could silence his phone.

"Usually, I put it in my pocket," he said. "That way, I can’t even reach it. I can’t even mess with it. But, this time, I had it out."

Paying attention is especially important during rush hour.

"Traffic drops to about 20 mph,” Baum said. “That’s a circumstance where, if you’re not paying attention, and coupled with speed and distracted driving, chances are you’re going to be involved in a traffic collision."

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