Distracted driving includes any activity that diverts the driver’s attention from the task of driving.
Texting and driving gets a lot of attention because it is especially dangerous.
According to studies, sending or reading takes the driver’s eyes off of the road for five seconds.
That means at a speed of 55 mph the driver is virtually driving with his or her eyes closed for the length of a football field.
Nearly every state has some kind of distracted driving law, including Arizona as of July 1, 2018. Until January 1, 2021, law enforcement may issue warnings but not citations.
Yet, cities that already have a hands-free law in place may enforce their laws. The 2021 law refers to a state-wide law.
Distracted driving at the State vs. the City law level
The statewide law prohibits more than just texting and driving. It bans handheld cell phone use while driving.
“Holding” may include, for example, resting a cell phone on the driver’s lap.
The idea is, while a driver is driving, a cell phone or similar device should not be supported by the driver’s body. The type of devices involved include more than just cell phone.
Utilizing a smart watch with your body may likewise violate the law.
For example, under the law a driver may be cited for reading a text message on his or her smart watch.
The distracted driving warning period
During the warning period, the impact in personal injury is minimal.
A driver who causes injuries to another, because he or she was driving distracted, will be responsible for the other parties injuries, regardless of the status of the enforcement law.
A driver on the roadway has a duty of ordinary care. To drive as a reasonably prudent person would under the circumstances.
It is not reasonably prudent to drive while distracted and thus liability will fall on the driver.