The dangers of distracted driving

Updated: Sep. 12, 2019 at 11:28 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Lieutenant Jason Badalato of the Watertown Police Department says texting and driving is a major issue.

"A simple text can ruin someone's life forever. If a person decided to text while they are driving, they could end up in an accident and put themselves and other people in danger," he said.

Tuesday night, state police said 21 year old Darien Hill of Watertown was using her cell phone when she hit a pickup and a guide rail on Interstate 81 in Pulaski. She was not hurt.

However, 21 year old Amber Mitchell of Fort Drum later hit Hill's car and a tow truck and was seriously injured.

After we posted the story on our website, a viewer who is a truck driver says he sees dozens of people texting driving along I-81 every day.

"You can see their speed fluctuates. They swerve a little bit, their heads are nodding down, not looking, crossing the lines. It's pretty obvious too when they have a phone in their hand," said Patrick St. Louis, truck driver.

Looking at a text can keep your eyes off the road for 5 seconds.

"If you're traveling about 55 miles an hour, you can go the distance of a football field without having looked at the road at all," said Badalato.

He says you can prevent texting and driving by putting your phone on the do not disturb setting.

“If you activate that setting, it takes away the temptation of reading any texts that come in,” he said.

He also says if there is an emergency text you have to answer, pull over to a safe spot and stop.

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