Media Contact: Cynthia Harris
Emeryville, CA., January 30, 2013
Motorists who use cell phones while driving are more likely to engage in additional dangerous behaviors such as speeding, driving drowsy, driving without a seatbelt and sending texts or emails, according to a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Additionally, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of licensed drivers reported talking on a cell phone while driving within the last month despite the fact that nearly nine-in-ten respondents (89 percent) believe other drivers using cell phones are a threat to their personal safety.
“What concerns AAA is this pattern of risky behavior that even goes beyond cell phone use,” said Cynthia Harris, AAA Northern California spokesperson. “These same cell phone-using drivers clearly understand the risk of distraction, yet are still likely to engage in a wide range of dangerous driving activities.”
Motorists who fairly often or regularly used their cell phones over the last month also reported that they engaged in additional risky behaviors. The research shows:
• 65 percent also reported speeding
• 44 percent also reported driving while drowsy
• 53 percent also reported sending a text or email
• 29 percent also drove without a seatbelt
Drivers that reported never using a cell phone were much less likely to report additional risky behaviors:
• 31 percent reported speeding
• 14 percent reported driving drowsy
• 03 percent reported sending a text or email
• 16 percent reported driving without a seatbelt
Despite the near-universal disapproval of texting and emailing while driving (95%), more than one-in-four licensed drivers (27%) reported sending a text or email at least once in the past 30 days, and more than one-third (35 %) said they read a text or email while driving. Young drivers age 16-24 were even more likely with more than half (61 %) reporting having read a text or email while driving in the past month, while more than one-in-four (26 %) reported checking or updating social media while driving.
Driver use of cell phones impairs reaction times and roughly quadruples crash risk. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 3,000 people are killed and nearly half a million are injured each year in crashes involving distraction. This is likely an underestimate given the challenges associated with determining the role of distraction in crashes.
AAA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have long been leading advocates in educating motorists about the risks of distracted driving. AAA recommends that motorists turn off their phone before driving or pulling over to a safe place to talk, send texts or use email. AAA also has launched a legislative campaign to advocate for a text messaging ban in all 50 states. To date, 39 states and the District of Columbia have adopted this key traffic safety measure and AAA expects all 11 remaining states to consider this legislation in 2013.
Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is an independent, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur.
AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah (NCNU) offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to more than 4.2 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 100 years ago.
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