Group raising distracted driving awareness with event at Arizona State Capitol

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- We have seen the devastating effects of distracted driving recently, as a Salt River Police officer, Clayton Townsend, was hit and killed by a driver who was texting along Loop 101.

Townsend's death has renewed calls to bring a texting and driving ban to Arizona. On Wednesday, several groups were at the State Capitol in Downtown Phoenix, working to raise awareness about the dangerous trend.

Organizers of the third annual Arizona Distracted Driving Summit say distracted driving is a deadly trend, and it's only getting worse.

"Everyone is texting, snapping, and we need to be more aware of that because we do it without noticing," said Faith Young with the Governor's Youth Commission.

It was a dramatic morning at the State Capitol, as Phoenix Police and Phoenix Fire re-create what could happen when someone is distracted behind the wheel. A person who knows the firsthand effects is Brendan Lyons, who was hit by a distracted driver while riding his bike.

"Looked down at his cell phone to see who was calling, and by the time he looked up, I'm being launched off of his vehicle," said Lyons. "Sustained six fractured vertebrae, fractured pelvis, traumatic brain injury, and it took me away from my career."

Lyons is hoping a hands free bill will be drafted and put into law in Arizona. Organizers have the same goal.

"This is one of three states that doesn't have a law," said Tim Page Bottorff with the American Society of Safety Professionals. "There are jurisdictions, cities and special districts that have laws, but the state does not."

Even the younger generation pushed for change at the event Wednesday's event.

"It won't happen to me, it only happens to people like that. It's just really sad because it can happen to anyone. It's up to you to actually stop distracted driving," said Young.

Organizers say a hands free bill can be drafted, dropped and signed within six months.