Distracted driving still an issue despite local laws against it

How many times have you been at a stop light or driving only to look across and see the person in the car sitting behind you is on their cellphone or maybe even texting?

Distracted driving is one of the top three causes of roadway deaths. Laws are in place against using your phone while behind the wheel, yet people still do it daily.

“If you take your eyes off the road just for a couple seconds something can happen in the blink of an eye and you're not going to be able to react in time,” says Lt. Tim Robinson of the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office.  

That's the point of All State's Reality Rides, a simulation that shows just how quickly using your phone while driving can go wrong.

Our photographer Darryl and myself put it to the test and like most others struggled to even drive straight.

Distracted driving doesn't just mean texting, it can be anything that takes your eyes off the road.

“It comes from grooming, putting on your makeup in the morning. If you're trying to get through rush hour texting your boss letting them know that ‘I’m on my way,’ I see the email and I’m going to respond as soon as possible,” says Caitlyn Barron, an All-State Senior Consultant.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted driving crashes killed over 3,000 people in 2015, that's an almost nine percent jump from 20-14.

Law enforcement says the troubling part is that they don't see those numbers dropping, despite there being laws in place.  

“It’s daily. My deputies and myself, I stopped someone yesterday right in front of me he even looked at me saw me sitting in my car in uniform kept right on going and made no effort to put the phone down,” says Lt. Robinson.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety found that the risk of crashing is four times higher when using a phone while driving.

Something that proved to be true in the simulator because once I put the phone down, immediately my driving improved.

“Put the phone down. It’s not worth it, it’s not worth hurting yourself, it’s not worth taking somebody else’s life.”

Lt. Robinson also adds that there is no reason for people to be on their phones nowadays because most cars within the last couple years have blue tooth and other programs installed so drivers can be hands-free.

For those of you who want to see just how fast your driving can take a turn for the worst while texting, All State Reality Rides will be at SU's homecoming this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.

Categories: Local News, Maryland