“How do you feel when you can't look at your phone for an extended period of time?”
That’s the question Carly Baez, a member of ABC15's Operations Safe Road's Advisory Borad, is trying to get Arizonans to address with the Distracted Driving Community Challenge she created.
The idea behind Baez's challenge is simple. For 30 minutes, participants are asked to turn up the volume of their phones and place the phone face-up in their lap. For the next 30 minutes, participants can do whatever they want –- watch a movie, play a board game, read a book. They just can’t “respond” to their phones, meaning “any emotional, physical, verbal, or mental reaction that acknowledges the notifications from your phone," per the instructions of the challenge.
The goal of Baez’s Distracted Driving Community Challenge is to help people understand how they interact with their cell phones, and in turn, help them begin to understand how their phones may contribute to distracted driving.
“You’re making coffee, where is your phone?” Baez said. “You’re having breakfast. Where is your phone? When you’re packing your lunch, where is your phone? When you get in the car, what do you do with it?”
Baez works as a Safety Manager for Kitchell and also volunteers for Drive Smart Arizona. She is a public speaker who devotes her free time to teaching community members about the dangers of distracted driving.
Baez came up with the Distracted Driving Community Challenge after doing a webinar for the Town of Paradise Valley’s Coffee with a Cop.
“I wanted to be sure that I was able to provide something that people could take away, that if they weren't participating in the webinar, on their own at home, they could at least take it and look at it and go, ‘Oh, you know, we could totally do this after dinner. Or we could totally do this playing a game,’” Baez said.
The challenge is meant to be fun, but it has larger implications. Baez encourages people to work to understand how they feel when their phone goes off and they can’t answer it.
“I just wanted something that people could do when they could devote 30 minutes of their time to really understand. What are you really missing in 30 minutes?” Baez said. “If we don't understand how we feel, we can't understand what our relationship actually is.”