MEDFORD, Ore. -- April is Distracted Driving Awareness month and it's shedding light on the damages caused by distracted driving.
According to research by the Oregon Department of Transportation, a distracted driver causes a crash every 2.5 hours - almost 10 crashes a day. That study was conducted between 2012 and 2016, before the state implemented its hands-free law in October 2017.
While local law enforcement says it's too early to tell how the hands-free law has impacted distracted driving in Oregon, one deputy with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office says he's noticed a difference since the law went into effect.
"During my time as a traffic deputy, I've seen a reduction in the cell phone usage [and] citations that I've personally written," said Cpl. Ryan Groom. "And I have seen a reduction in the use both on and off-duty."
A recent study by AAA revealed certain forms of distractions are taking a driver's hands off the wheel for extended periods of time. It found programming navigation was the most distracting task. Experts say it took drivers an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete.
Local law enforcement says smart phones whether you're on the phone or using GPS, is still a real problem for drivers and that the consequences are simply not worth it.
"[I've seen] a lot of traffic crashes associated with that...using cell phones," said Cpl. Groom. "It only takes a second to be distracted before you become involved in a crash."
You can demonstrate your support for Distracted Driving Awareness by using the #DriveHealthy hashtag.
— WC Sheriff's Office (@WCSheriff) April 3, 2018
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