Monday, May 25, 2015

Talking, texting not the only forms of distracted driving

From: 8 NewsNow

Talking and texting on your phone aren't the only ways to be distracted while driving.

A new report released by AT&T shows a third of people admitted to checking email, a quarter of people say they check Facebook or surf the web and others admitted to shooting video or snapping pictures while behind the wheel.

The report still lists texting as the most common mistake.

Nevada Highway Patrol says any of those distractions while driving can lead to serious crashes that could injure or kill someone else. Even though it's against the law, NHP says more people are doing it and even staying on the phone longer than even before.

Marilyn Green has been driving for about 45 years and she says it's easy to get distracted on the road more than ever.

"It's very scary," said Green. "It really is because I know even sometimes when you go to change the radio you're taking your eyes off the road for two seconds."

While driving she says she tucks her phone away, but that's not the case with everyone.

According to the report by AT&T, more than 60 percent of drivers keep their cellphone within easy reach and text often.

NHP troopers see the problem all the time.

"There's times when we're behind a vehicle and we think we have a drunk driver because someone is all over the roadway and we realize once we get next to them and see what they're doing, they're not in fact drunk, they're just driving distracted," said NHP Trooper Chelsea Stuenkel.

AT&T is working on expanding the "It Can Wait" campaign to combat the growing distracted driving problem. The program urges drivers to stay off their phone when driving on the road.

If someone is killed or seriously hurt in a crash, NHP says they can investigate if a driver was distracted on their cellphone. They said they can even get a search warrant to look up phone records at the time of the crash.

"We do have to use a lawful search method, whether that be consent from the driver to search say, cellphone records, GPS, or we can obtain a search warrant if justified to be able to research to see if they were using their cellphone," said Stuenkel.

Green says she hopes to never fall victim to someone else's distracted driving.

"It's not going to kill them not to talk or text for five minutes. It's going to kill them if they do," said Green.

NHP troopers don't need recorded proof of distracted driving to give drivers a citation, they just need to see you on the phone while driving to pull you over. Authorities recommend drivers pull over if they absolutely need to check their phone.