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Jana Tidwell
Public Relations Manager, PA
O: (302) 299-4426
C: (302) 353-6563
jtidwell@aaamidatlantic.com

Kathleen Zinszer
Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, CT/DE/NJ/PA
O: (302) 299-4168
C: (610) 291-7312
KZinszer@aaamidatlantic.com

 

Are You ‘Intexticated?’

AAA Launches Initiative to Reduce Deadly Distracted Driving 

AAA Poll: 90% of Pennsylvania drivers believe distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving

PHILADELPHIA, PA (April 17, 2019) Amid National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, AAA Mid-Atlantic is launching a new, multi-year initiative in an effort to reduce deaths and injuries as a result of cell phone use by drivers. AAA’s “Don’t Drive Intoxicated—Don’t Drive Intexticated” campaign links the impact of drinking and driving with distracted driving. Both are comparably dangerous and deadly, research shows, killing and injuring drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists. What is more, a person using a cellphone while driving is four times as likely to be involved in a crash as drivers who are not.

“AAA’s ‘Don’t Drive Intoxicated—Don’t Drive Intexticated’ campaign targets drivers who would never consider getting behind the wheel after drinking an alcoholic beverage and, yet, will use a mobile device while driving, dangerously taking their eyes and minds off the road,” explained Cathy Rossi, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "We hope more drivers make an effort to minimize their distractions to create safer driving conditions for everyone on the road.”

 According to NHTSA, “nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the crash event.” Combatting distracted driving through greater enforcement and education will protect all motorists.

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Jessica Tobin said, “Taking your attention away from the road, for a just one second can cost you, others sharing the road, and your family a lifetime of heartache and pain.  Ask yourself; is that one text worth a life?”

Sadly, distracted driving safety advocate, Joel Feldman and his family know all too well the pain a distracted driver can cause a family. On July 17, 2009, twenty-one year-old Casey Feldman – Joel’s daughter, a senior at Fordham University and a 2006 graduate of Springfield High School – was struck and killed by a distracted driver in Ocean City, NJ.  Casey was crossing the street in a crosswalk during daylight hours at a 4-way stop intersection.  She was more than half way across the street, yet the driver claimed that he never saw her.  He was distracted and looking away from the road.

 

“Distracted driving has reached epidemic proportions in our country, however laws and stricter enforcement can only go so far. In addition, the culture of constant connectivity needs to change. It is our hope that education campaigns such as AAA Mid-Atlantic's ‘Don't Drive Intoxicated. Don't Drive Intexticated.’ will save others the same fate as our Casey and our family,” said Joel Feldman.

AAA recognizes the impact that more than 50 years of public education efforts against alcohol-impaired driving have had across the country. Those campaigns helped to achieve changes to alcohol-impaired driving laws, increased enforcement, and, critically, a shift in public attitudes and behaviors toward drinking and driving. Although much more still needs to be done, anti-drunk driving campaigns and related efforts have helped cut the number of alcohol-impaired crash fatalities in half since the 1980s, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“AAA has made traffic safety a priority since 1921, working to make roads, vehicles and drivers more safe,” Rossi says. “Through this latest initiative, AAA is committed to changing attitudes and behaviors surrounding the deadly problem of distracted driving, and we will continue this effort for years to come.”

In Pennsylvania

  • According to PennDOT crash statistics, a distracted driver was the contributing cause of more than 15,600 crashes in Pennsylvania in 2017, 6,500 MORE than a drunk driver.
  • Between 2014 and 2018, the State of Pennsylvania saw a 118 percent increase in the number of distracted driving citations issued.

In the Philadelphia Region:

Between 2014 and 2018, the Philadelphia region saw a double-digit increase in the number of distracted driving citations issued:

  • Bucks County – up 85 percent
  • Chester County – up 109 percent
  • Delaware County – up 23 percent
  • Montgomery County – up 158 percent
  • Philadelphia County – up 29 percent

Four out the five counties in the Philadelphia region (all but Delaware County) landed in the top 10 counties with the most distracted driving citations.

*Source: Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC)

A recent AAA poll of Pennsylvania drivers (March 2019) indicates that 90 percent of them agree that the dangers posed by drivers distracted by their electronic devices are equal to the dangers posed by drivers who are drunk.

The AAA poll also finds:

  • 77 percent of PA drivers say they see more drivers distracted by their electronic devices than two years ago
  • 92 percent of PA drivers say they are concerned about their safety due to drivers distracted by their electronics
  • 79 percent of PA drivers say it is NEVER okay to email, text or use social media while driving
  • 75 percent of PA drivers would you support a law in Pennsylvania banning hand-held cellphone use while driving

AAA Tips to Limit Distracted Driving

  • Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.
  • Know where you’re going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.
  • Pull over. If you have to call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.
  • Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message.
  • Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.
  • Don’t be a distraction.  Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.
  • Everyone should prevent being intexticated. Just as drivers need to pay attention, so do pedestrians and bicyclists. Never call, text or play games while walking or cycling.

Campaign messages will appear as public service announcements, on social media (using the hashtag #DontDriveIntexticated), at special events, and in AAA retail store branches in the Philadelphia area. The messages will also be incorporated into continuing AAA traffic safety programs offered in local communities.

AAA will be urging all drivers – co-workers, families and friends - to ‘take the pledge’, not to drive “intexticated”.

For more information and tips for how motorists can avoid distracted driving, visit www.AAA.com/DontDriveDistracted

AAA “Don’t Drive Intoxicated—Don’t Drive Intexticated” campaign PSAs:

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Follow us on Twitter: @AAAPhillyNews

Mailing Address:
7777 Brewster Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19159

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit www.AAA.com.

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