Distracted driving dangers plague Provo

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By Joe Belnap

The Utah Department of Public Safety said there are more than 5,000 accidents a year are due to distracted driving.

Because of the recent uptick in accidents, Provo Police let the public know that officers will be doing extra shifts to focus on distracted drivers.

Earlier this week, a teen was hit by a car on Canyon Road.

“It was a 16-year-old foreign exchange student from Spain,” Provo Police Sgt. Nicholas Dupaix said. “He suffered several broken bones and head trauma.”

The teen is expected to make a full recovery, but was the accident caused by distracted driving? “That particular incident I can’t say whether it was due to distracted driving,” Dupaix said.

Since Provo is a college town, there are a lot of pedestrians and being alert for those crossing the road is key for safety. The main culprit for distracting drivers are cell phones.

“Cell phone devices, that’s been a huge one. We do a lot of traffic enforcement with people using their cellphones while out on the road and such,” Dupaix said.

But it’s not just cell phones. Retired highway patrolman, Ben Iosefa has seen it all. “Women putting on their makeup while at a traffic light or even driving,” he said.

Are there any instances where using your phone while driving is okay? “There are exceptions to the rule such as using GPS,” Dupaix said.

But Dupaix said to make sure your coordinates are set before you start driving so that you aren’t trying to multitask. “A lot of people think they can multitask,” said Dupaix.

Studies have shown that while you can technically multitask, one of the tasks will not be performed well. “One of those skills is going out the window and it better be the one that is not going to cause some life threatening event,” Dupaix said.

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