STOP FOR STUDENTS

Stop for Students: The dangerous distances you drive when distracted 

Nov 7, 2023, 11:03 PM | Updated: Nov 8, 2023, 7:16 am

TAYLORSVILLE – Every time you use a device behind the wheel, experts say you’re effectively driving blindfolded. Depending on how fast you’re driving, the distance you travel while your eyes are on that “quick text” may surprise you.  

Research shows reading a typical text message will take you roughly 4.6 seconds. If you’re driving 55 miles per hour, your car would cross an entire football field before you looked up.  

“Think about everything that could happen if your eyes are off the road for the length of a football field,” UDOT spokesperson John Gleason said. “Terrible things. And unfortunately, we’ve seen that happen.” 

So far this year, 33 pedestrians have been hit and killed by cars in Utah. Some of those lives lost were young children who were hit while trying to get to and from school.  

“I can’t think of anything more risky than distracted driving in a school zone,” Gleason said.  

With typical speeds in school zones much lower than 55 mph drivers may believe a quick text isn’t quite as dangerous. But in a test in an empty parking lot, KSL’s experiment found distances traveled even at 20mph are significant and your car is going to cover more ground than you think.  

Sending a text message can take between four and eight seconds. In that time, at 20mph, your car would travel 100-200 feet. Imagine traveling that far, in a crowded school zone, with your eyes closed. It seems outrageous but it’s something drivers do in Utah every single day. 

“There are a lot of people who think that they’re good at multitasking but honestly, the only reason they haven’t been involved in a crash is pure luck,” Gleason said. 

The statistics back him up. Studies have shown that a distracted driver is 15 times more likely to fail to yield to a pedestrian. They’re four times more likely to hit a pedestrian than drivers who aren’t distracted.  

“It can happen to all of us. We’re susceptible to it,” Gleason said. “The guarantee that you’re not going to get in a crash by texting is don’t text. Put that phone away when you’re driving.”


This story is part of an ongoing KSL TV initiative called “Stop for Students”. We encourage all Utahns to share their stories and solutions as we work together to prevent more pedestrian tragedies in our state. Show your support and spread the word by requesting a decal of your own.  

KSL 5 TV Live

Stop For Students

(KSL TV)...

Karah Brackin

UDOT is stressing work zone safety, especially near schools

As road construction ramps up around the state, construction on 5600 South in Roy will directly impact elementary school students heading to and from school.

10 hours ago

police at Mary Jackson Elementary...

Cary Schwanitz, Eliza Pace, and Daniel Woodruff, KSL TV

Child injured in hit-and-run crash outside Salt Lake City elementary school

An 8-year-old child was injured in a hit-and-run crash across the street from Mary Jackson Elementary School Wednesday afternoon, according to the Salt Lake City Police Department.

28 days ago

Joey Skelton, a school bus driver for a Utah school is receiving a thank you poster and an award fo...

Emma Benson

School bus driver hailed as hero for saving student lives after car ignored bus stop arm

A Jordan School District bus driver is being praised after he prevented a possible tragedy from happening to students. 

2 months ago

A new bill introduced in the legislature would increase fines for speeding in school crossings from...

Daniel Woodruff

Lawmaker proposes bigger fines for speeding in Utah school zones

A Utah lawmaker is proposing substantially higher fines for speeding in a school zone.

3 months ago

A cyclist watches traffic before crossing 400 East at 200 South in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March...

Logan Stefanich, KSL.com

Salt Lake City hoping to make streets safer for K-12 students through nearly $1M grant

The federal government has awarded $953,600 to Salt Lake City to help make its streets safer — particularly for K-12 students.

4 months ago

Noah McArthur (left) in the hospital with his mother, Christine Sara (right) (Courtesy: Christine S...

Emma Benson

Local school district making changes after 3 students hit in crosswalks

After three teenagers were hit by a car in the last year, Wasatch School District is implementing new safety features on their city's streets.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Stop for Students: The dangerous distances you drive when distracted