by Deputy Tracy Suitt, Public Information Officer at the Pima County Sheriff’s Department

While teaching my daughter to drive a couple of weeks ago, I saw something worth sharing. A car in front of us was swerving inside its lane.Thinking it might be an intoxicated driver, I had my daughter slow down to create more space and distance. As we approached a red light, we changed lanes, and I was able to look at the driver to see if he appeared intoxicated. He was not impaired, but he was driving distracted by texting on his cell phone.

Distracted driving is on the rise in Pima County and across the nation. Cell phone usage was reported in 18 percent of distraction related fatalities. Texting is the most dangerous distraction while driving because it requires visual, manual and cognitive attention.

Texting takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s traveling the distance of a football field.

Do your part to keep Pima County’s roads safe. One text or call could end it all. It can wait.

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Lucretia Free