What: As drivers stop to fill up for gas during this summer of record-breaking road travel, AAA is reminding them to put their phones down while driving. AAA has placed important safety reminders aimed at changing attitudes and behaviors surrounding the deadly problem of distracted driving at unlikely places: gas pumps.
AAA’s “Don’t Drive Intexticated.” initiative targets drivers who would never consider drinking a beer behind the wheel and, yet, regularly engage with mobile devices that dangerously take their eyes, hands and minds off driving.
- 9 people each day are killed in the U.S. and 1,000 are injured in crashes where distracted driving occurred.
- Nearly 97% of motorists believe mobile device use while driving is an extremely or very dangerous behavior, about the same number (95.1%) that view driving while intoxicated to be extremely or very dangerous.
- That did not stop over 41.3% from admitting they had read texts or emails on their phone at least once in the past 30 days. 32.1% said they had typed on their devices while driving (according to results of the newly released AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index*, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety.)
- Novice Teen Drivers + Technology = 100 Deadliest Days
Crashes involving teen drivers spike in summer in what AAA calls the “100 Deadliest Days” between Memorial Day and Labor Day. During the 100 deadliest days in 2018, there were 23 people killed in crashes on Ohio roads involving a teen driver (age 15-18). (According to the Ohio Department of Transportation.)
- 9 of these were teen drivers that were killed
- 9 were drivers outside the age group of 15-18
- 5 were passengers that were killed (all between ages 15-24)
- Four of the 23 crashes took place in the following tri-state area counties: Butler (1), Clermont (1) and Warren (2).
A recent AAA survey of Ohio drivers revealed that 90 percent said they are “concerned” or “very concerned” about their safety on the road due to other drivers being distracted by electronic devices.
Additional survey results conducted in March of 600 Ohio drivers on their thoughts and opinions about distracted driving:
- 71 percent said they notice more drivers distracted by electronic devices now than two years ago.
- 76 percent “think that it’s never okay” to use a smart phone for texting, emailing or social media while driving.
- When asked how often they look at their phones to read or send a text while driving, 3 percent responded “regularly, 6 percent said “fairly often,” 30 replied “rarely” and 61 percent said they “never” did so.
- 59 percent said they “always” or “often” put their smart phone away where it cannot be accessed while driving.
- 88 percent “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that the dangers of using a smart phone for texting, emailing and social media can be as serious as drinking and driving.
- 61 percent of respondents “rarely” or “never” use hands-free technology such as Bluetooth or voice-activated calling.
- When asked about the existing Ohio law banning texting while driving and whether survey participants would support or oppose a law in Ohio banning hand-held cell phone use while driving:
- 68 percent said they would support
- 19 percent said they would oppose
- 13 percent said they are not sure
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving:
- Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation. Set up “do not disturb while driving” features or apps to hold calls and texts and relay messages to those trying to contact you while driving.
- 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.
- Intextication is risky for those walking, too. Just as drivers need to pay attention, so do pedestrians and bicyclists. Never call, text or play games while walking or cycling.
- The public is invited to take the Don’t Drive Intexticated pledge. Visit www.aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted to join this lifesaving effort.
*Survey results were released June 19, 2019, as part of the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data are from a sample of 2,582 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. www.AAAFoundation.org.
Driving comparison PSAs: “Intoxicated or Intexticated” https://vimeo.com/283520390 https://vimeo.com/261524390
B-roll: Teens Learning to Drive Distracted Teen Drivers
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and nearly two and a half million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working 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 (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.