Josh Timothy, community liaison, Cache County Sheriff’s Office
You are on your way home from work, and you hear that familiar tone. You know that you shouldn’t text and drive, but it is probably your spouse asking you to pick up something from the store on your way home. Traffic seems to be flowing well, and there is considerable distance between you and the other cars. You decide to look at your phone and quickly respond to the text. That is when it all happens: Traffic comes to a stop, a child crosses the road, or the light turns red. Time and time again, it is the same story that leaves multiple families with sadness and devastation.
One of the most difficult things our deputies have to do is to let a family know that their loved one was hurt or killed in an accident. Many accidents could be avoided if drivers were not distracted while driving a vehicle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains three main types of distractions:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive: taking your mind off driving.
While driving, many distractions compete for our attention like picking up a toy that a child has dropped, watching a thunderstorm in the distance, or eating lunch. It is essential to try to limit these distractions the best we can. However, there is one distraction that we CAN get rid of entirely: cell phones.
The State of Utah passed a law prohibiting the use of handheld wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle to try to reduce the number of accidents caused by distracted driving.
Texting while driving is hazardous because it incorporates all three types of distractions. No text, email, or Snapchat message is worth your life or the life of another person. Cache County Sheriff Chad Jensen wants to remind everyone, “Focus on the road, not your phone. Your life is worth the wait.”