October 7, 2020 — AAA Oklahoma urges all drivers to stop driving “Intexticated”, pay attention and focus on the road during this National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and all year long. Last year in Oklahoma, 8,646 crashes involved distracted driving. Forty people died as a result and another 202 were seriously injured, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. Looking away from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of a crash, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
“Focused drivers save lives,” said Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokeswoman. “There is no text message worth reading or sending when injuring or killing someone is the potential cost.”
Nationwide, nearly 3,000 people are killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, contributing to the 36,560 lives lost to crashes on U.S. roadways in 2018. Distractions include more than texting. Anything that diverts attention from driving – eating and drinking, adjusting the navigation, or picking your next podcast, talking to other passengers, or talking or texting on the phone—can result in a fatal injury.
Despite what some drivers may think, hands-free is not risk-free. Even with your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel, you are not safe unless your mind focuses on driving.
AAA’s on-going “Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated.” campaign aims to make distracted driving socially unacceptable, much like drinking and driving. It was launched in Oklahoma and several other states last year as AAA continues its longstanding efforts to improve road, vehicle and driver safety.
“We recognize that changing attitudes and behaviors when it comes to distracted driving will take time and a true commitment from all road users,” Gamble added.
AAA supports legislation to strengthen Oklahoma’s law prohibiting texting while driving, extending it to any use of a mobile device while driving.
Here are AAA’s Top Tips to Avoid Distractions While Driving:
- Prepare for your drive. Set vehicle systems like GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time. And please, finish dressing and personal grooming at home – before you get on the road.
- Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated. The consequences of alcohol-impaired driving and texting while driving could be the same: Put aside electronic distractions and never use text messaging, email, video games or internet functions, including those built into the vehicle, while driving. Stow your smartphone away, turn it to airplane mode, or activate call/text blocking features.
- Stay focused. Do not let anything divert your attention. Be sure to actively scan the road, use your mirrors, and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists. If you have passengers, enlist their help as a “designated texter.” Ask them to answer your calls, respond to texts and program the navigation.
- Take the pledge to not drive distracted at AAA.com/dontdrivedistracted
- Know the distracted driving laws in other states you may travel to by visiting AAA’s Digest of Motor Laws.