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Column: Distracted driving kills

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Distracted driving is responsible for a disproportionate number of road accidents in Tucson. The new Tucson city cell phone driving ban aims to reduce these all too frequent tragedies.

On Tuesday, the Tucson City Council approved the ordinance that prohibits cellphone use while driving. This ban is long overdue.

The ordinance states that a driver caught using their cellphone without a hands-free device will receive a $100 fine. If the driver using the cell phone is involved in an accident, the fine jumps to $250.  

Unfortunately, the ordinance will be a secondary offense. This means that in order for police to cite the driver, the driver must have been pulled over for another reason. So the question is, is this really a ban on cellphones? 

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The ordinance should be people using their cellphones while driving are fined. They shouldn’t have to have another reason to stop the car.

Last year in May, Pima County banned texting while driving which has recently expanded to use of cellphones while driving completely.

Brendan Lyons and his girlfriend were struck by a distracted driver in 2013. They both were in favor of the no texting while driving ordinance. 

During a press release, he talked to police supervisors about the ordeal and his serious injuries from the incident.

“I hope this makes an impact on all of you,” he told the supervisors. “This isn’t about politics. This is about public safety.”

I’ve heard many of my friends talking about their disapproval of Tucson drivers. I’ve also had my own fair share of frustrations.

I use public transportation every day and I am a pedestrian. It’s not fun almost being hit when you’re trying to get from point A to point B. Every time I’m crossing an intersection, I fear that I will be hit by a distracted driver. I’ve been almost struck quite a few times and it irritates me when I see someone on their phone while driving because they’re risking not only their lives but also the lives of others.

You might think reading a quick text or talking to someone on the phone is important and that you can multitask, but studies have shown that humans aren’t good at multitasking.

“People can’t multitask very well, and when people say they can, they’re deluding themselves,” said neuroscientist Earl Miller to NPR. “The brain is very good at deluding itself.” 

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Miller said that people think they are focusing on multiple tasks at a time, but really, they’re brains are switching between different tasks at a rapid speed.

This is true while driving and using your cellphone. Your brain is switching between looking at the phone and looking at the road. In the quick second that you think you’re able to focus, the next quick second an accident can occur.

The safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians are more important. We don’t need people distracted by their smartphone.

 Is risking your life to send a tweet really that important? No, it’s not.

The law will go into effect May 1 and the city officials will review it again in six months.


Follow Aurora Begay on Twitter.



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