"Compared to last year, there's an increase, we recognize that," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Vince Lewis.
Phoenix police are working on a safety campaign to ensure both drivers and pedestrians are avoiding distractions and remaining vigilant.
"It's just a simple reminder for pedestrians, pedal cyclists, and drivers, to raise your awareness," Sgt. Lewis said.
At this point, there is no clear reason for the uptick. (Really?)
I have a theory:
- Distracted driving;
- Distracted driving; and
- Distracted driving.
There is little doubt that distracted driving is now an epidemic in this country—even though we all consider ourselves to be safe behind the wheel.
U.S. fatalities from traffic accidents rose 7.2% last year to 35,092—the largest increase in 50 years—and distracted driving played a role in many of those deaths, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Given how many drivers seem to be on the phone, applying makeup, eating, fiddling with radios or texting while merging lanes, this is (sadly) not a surprise to anyone. And, the problem is just getting worse.
In a recent survey, nearly everyone (96%) of the survey respondents said he or she is a safe driver, but then 56% of the same group admitted to using the phone while driving. (How many do but did not admit? That number is likely much higher.)
The scary thing now is that our kids are growing up with a cell phone, attached at the hip and equivalent to “oxygen”. Have you tried to take one away from a teenager anytime lately??? OMG, you might as well be cutting off their ability to breath. Being on their cell phone 23.5 hours a day is standard, and if you think that behavior changes when they are behind the wheel, you are likely wrong.
There is little doubt it is an epidemic. What can we do? Laws against distracted driving (texting) would help, with a tough enforcement campaign.
Arizona legislators, are you listening?