Tucson Police and local organization work to end distracted driving, combating an increase in crashes on Tucson roads

KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 10:59 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) -Tucson Police Department has increased patrols to combat distracted driving on our roads. One local organization, Look Save a Life, said the problem wouldn’t be solved until everyone takes matters into their own hands.

“If you’re looking at last year, we saw our deadliest year on Tucson streets, including pedestrians,” said Frank Magos, TPD Public Information Officer

There were nearly 100 fatal crashes on Tucson roads last year, and now just two months into 2023, there have already been 11 fatal crashes.

Executive Director of Look Save a Life, Brendan Lyons, said distracted driving isn’t helping the issue.

“Today, distracted driving has become the DUI epidemic of our generation. It’s so prevalent,” said Lyons.

It’s especially prevalent for those young drivers.

One 16-year-old driver learned all too well how quickly things can take a turn for the worse.

He was driving erratically in the median lane, cutting off a school bus.

“The driver is extremely lucky there were no kids crossing the street at that moment because those kids would have been completely blindsided,” said Magos.

Then he crashed into another car just a few miles down the road. Thankfully no one was hurt, but it could’ve been much worse.

“I think the message here speaks to those of us at home with young motorists. It starts at an early age to have those conversations with them about those safe driving habits,” said Magos.

TPD is increasing patrols and putting motorcycle officers in school zones and residential areas to combat the issue.

Lyons said it all comes down to everyone doing their part to make a difference.

“The average misconception is that it won’t happen to me, and the truth is it doesn’t happen to you until it happens to you. Then you’re the guilt-stricken motorist or the victim of this growing epidemic,” said Lyons.

All phones need to be in a hands-free device, if you’re behind the wheel.

If you see someone driving erratically or distracted driving, contact authorities.