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May 3, 2018

U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” That’s the catch phrase for the National Distracted Driving Awareness Month public campaign run by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) from April 7-15, and coordinated with a police crackdown on distracted driving.

The campaign was an $8.5 million dollar initiative to raise awareness about the consequences of distracted driving through TV, radio, and the internet. Advertisements informed a national audience of consequences, both in terms of fatalities and injuries, and in terms of legal ramifications. During the campaign, law enforcement will take extra measures to arrest those who violate these bans.

The dual approach appeared to work well according to data released in early April from demonstration programs in California and Delaware. After issuing thousands of tickets over three discrete periods, officers observed a marked decrease in hand-held cell phone use by drivers in each state.


Distracted driving involves engaging in an activity while driving that has the potential to distract attention from the driver’s main task: safely driving his or her vehicle. Such distractions increasingly involve the use of cell phones or other mobile devices. Texting while driving is perhaps the most significant form of distraction, but dialing, reaching for a phone, and talking on the phone have also resulted in crashes. In addition to the cell phone, food and beverages, adjusting the radio or other music, talking to another passenger, or attending to children in the back seat can also lead to accidents.

There are three different ways that distractions such as those listed above can cause accidents:

  • Visual – a driver isn’t keeping his or her eyes on the road.
  • Manual – a driver isn’t keeping his or her hands on the wheel.
  • Cognitive – a driver isn’t thinking about what he or she is doing.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that there were 3,328 fatalities and 421,000 injuries in 2012 due to distracted driving.


Distracted driving related accidents happen in Phoenix and throughout Arizona, as they do increasingly throughout the United States. However, while many states ban the use of cell phones, or text messaging while driving, the only statute on the books in Arizona currently prohibits school bus drivers alone from using a cell phone while driving. Fortunately, victims of a Phoenix distracted driving accident still have legal recourse. For instance, a recent law enforcement campaign targeting distracted drivers in Arizona uses laws against driving at a “speed not reasonable and prudent,” finding there is no speed that is “reasonable and prudent” to be driving while distracted.


For victims of texting and driving accidents in Arizona, the personal injury attorneys at Wattel & York know how to use existing laws on the books to prosecute reckless drivers to the fullest extent possible. If you are an Arizona resident and would like to explore your legal options, contact our attorneys at 1-877-225-5562 to set up a free consultation.


  1. NHTSA, U.S. DOT Launches First-Ever National Distracted Driving Enforcement and Advertising Campaign http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2014/DOT+Launches+First-Ever+National+Distracted+Driving+Enforcement+and+Advertising+Campaign
  2. Texting and Driving Safely, DWI: Driving While Intexticated http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com/texting-and-driving-stats
  3. NHTSA, Policy Statement and Compiled FAQs on Distracted Driving https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving
  4. Distraction.gov, State Laws http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/state-laws.html
  5. AzCentral, Arizona DPS to Crack Down on Texting Drivers http://www.azcentral.com/news/arizona/free/20131111arizona-dps-crack-down-texting-drivers.html

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