TWIN FALLS, Idaho — April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month, which aims to bring the dangers of driving while distracted to the forefront.
Texting, talking and eating are a just few of the distractions Sgt. Ken Mencl with the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office sees, out on the road.
“When they pull their attention off of the road… things can immediately change in the blink of an eye and that’s where our crashes are happening,” said Sgt. Mencl
Idaho's hands-free device law requires electronic devices to be in hands-free mode while driving, including when stopped at a red light or stop sign.
“Even if it’s business related, it’s still not OK… I learned that today and I will definitely not be doing that in the future,” said Colin White, a driver Sgt. Mencl pulled over for being on his cell phone while driving.
Beginning May 30, the 100 deadliest days begins. This period occurs between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when fatal teen crashes see a significant increase.
“The weather is getting warmer, so there’s going to be more traffic and people out vacationing now, so distractions are going to play a lot bigger part in all of everyone’s traveling,” said Patrol Deputy Brook Trudent with the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Idaho’s Transportation Department, over 90 people died in traffic crashes on Idaho roads during last summer’s 100 Deadliest Days.
Distracted driving isn’t just being on your cell phone, it also includes mental distractions such as focusing on getting to a destination quickly, which can result in speeding.
“Don’t worry about that appointment that you might be a few minutes late to. Don’t be in a hurry to get there, don’t be thinking too much about it, just focus on your driving and make sure everybody gets where they need to go to safely,” said Deputy Trudent.
Stay alert, avoid hurrying and remember, it can wait.
“Leave earlier, make all of your phone calls before or after you get to wherever you’re going, put the phones away,” said Deputy Trudent.