April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and people are encouraged to stay focused behind the wheel.
Kimma Harper, driving instructor and president of Driving Academy of NWA said there are several myths when it comes to driving and using a cell phone. One is that voice texting is safer, but because users are focused on talking and then reading the message to make sure it translated correctly, it’s just as dangerous as normal texting.
Harper also said research shows it takes 27 seconds to get back into focus after sending a text, so even at a stop sign it’s not a good idea.
“While you’re looking down at your phone, a child could have walked in front of your car and fallen down,” Harper said. “When you look up and see a green light, you take off because you can’t see ten to 12 feet in front of your car.”
Arkansas law has different cell phone rules for people based on age, but Harper said the most important thing is to just be smart.
“Something we stress so much is just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s wise,” Harper said. “So regardless of your age, it’s best to leave the technology alone and focus on driving.”
As a reminder:
– Texting has been illegal for everyone in the state since 2017
– 18-21 year olds can talk on the phone with a hands-free device
– Drivers over 21 can talk on the phone legally
– Drivers under 18 can’t use their phone at all
– All cell phone usage is illegal in school and construction zones