Besides causing fatalities, driving while texting in Arizona can lead to lengthy prison sentences.
About 40 students and parents learned about the dangers and consequences of driving while distracted during the Road Sensibility program Wednesday night at Paradise Valley High School.
Scottsdale-based Taser International, known for manufacturing stun guns, sponsored the evening.
Taser is promoting its new Protector safe-driver system to encourage teens to drive safely.
The Protector system was created to prevent cell phone related driving distractions. The system locks smartphones while a car is running with a phone in it, preventing drivers from making calls or texting while driving.
“If your attention is not on the road, there’s no way you can stay safe, no matter how good of a driver you are,” said Doug Fallon, a product manager at Taser.
The concept for such as device has been endorsed by Driving MBA and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, endorsed the concept.
“Any technology that will improve the safety of teen drivers and reduce accidents caused by distracted driving should be support by parents and drivers.” said Maria Wojtczak of Driving MBA.
The fact is more than 6,000 teens die annually in car crashes nationally. Most of those crashes are tied to unsafe driving that could have been prevented.
“In Arizona, we lose more young people in auto accidents than anything else. If this was a disease, it would be an epidemic,” said Jessica Smith, S.A.D.D. director. “In Arizona, we are way above the national average in teen fatalities. We can debate this all day long, but we have a problem.”
Distracted driving is becoming an epidemic in Arizona. The problem does not only effect teenagers, but adults as well. Drivers are so tied to their cell phones and the need for immediate response that they find it hard to ignore the sound of an incoming text or the ringing of the phone. “Those of us as adults are equally as tempted when that phone vibrates or rings to see who it is,” Paradise Valley High Principal Cynthia Davis said. So removing the temptation maybe the best way to reduce the occurrence accidents caused by these devices.
An overarching message was that most crashes involving teens are preventable. Getting your teen the best possible driver education can save their life. Investing in your child’s safe driving habits make good sense and ensures that you can have piece of mind.
Arizona takes car crashes caused by texting seriously enough to charge the individual with negligent homicide. But texting and driving is still permitted under state law.
“The person who you kill has a family,” he said. “We are trying hard to get a texting-and-driving law passed for kids who make poor choices.”