Driving instructor warns of danger with distracted driving - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Driving instructor warns of danger with distracted driving

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Investigators are looking into whether distracted driving may be to blame for a fatal crash on Bonny Oaks Drive. It happened Thursday afternoon near Founders Way.

Police say a 24-year-old woman was traveling east when she crossed into the westbound lane and hit 39-year-old Elizabeth Bodaly. The impact killed Bodaly and critically injured the other woman. Last year alone, 51 people died on Tennessee roadways because of distracted driving.

A Chattanooga driving instructor tells Channel 3 Eyewitness News distracted drivers could be the most dangerous on the roads.

Friends of Elizabeth Bodaly say she was a vibrant and energetic woman, someone they will miss every day. Elizabeth was killed Thursday in an accident on Bonny Oaks Drive. A vehicle crossed the yellow line and collided head on with her car. Investigators are looking into whether distracted driving may be to blame.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Police identify woman killed in Bonny Oaks Dr. crash

“Just be aware of what you're doing in your car. Anything other than driving takes your attention away from the road. Whether it be talking, eating, anything you are doing that takes your attention,” said Sergeant Justin Kilgore.

Raymond Scott with Haman's New Drivers School says accidents caused by distracted drivers are becoming more common, with drivers of all ages. “It actually now appears to be one of the biggest issues we have, not just with in teen driving but drivers in general,” said Scott.

Law enforcement officials have been issuing warnings against texting and driving for years. But it is not the only thing distracting drivers on the roads. “Cell phones, other persons in the car, individuals to distract us. A lot of controls on our steering wheels, pets in the car any number of things that can be distracting us.”

A 2015 report from State Farm shows 21 percent of drivers admit to reading their social media feeds while driving.  And more than a third text while behind the wheel. Scott says distracted driving comes with serious consequences. He says Thursday's accident is a good reminder to his students to always keep their eyes on the road. He hopes one day distracted driving will have the same stigma in our society as drinking and driving. “Comparing texting and driving or phone use to drinking and driving. In some cases it claims it is proven to be worse. Drunk people in a way are trying to pay some attention, not very well, whereas a person texting and driving has their eyes completely off the road paying no attention.”

Tennessee law bans anyone from texting and driving. It is considered a Primary Law, meaning officers can pull drivers over and issue a ticket. If you are cited for texting behind the wheel it is a $50 fine. It is legal for those 18 and older to make phone calls while driving, in Tennessee.

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