AAA Offers Tips to Put Down the Phone & Drive


don't text and drive (select to view enlarged photo)

AAA Says Cell Phone Users Aren't Model Drivers Drivers who talk on a cell phone may feel confident about their ability to maneuver a 4,000-pound vehicle safely, but a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey indicates that phone-using drivers are more likely to engage in other dangerous behaviors such as speeding, driving drowsing, driving without a seatbelt and sending texts or emails.

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.

"Driver use of cell phones impairs reaction times and roughly quadruples crash risk," according to Roger Boyd, AAA Public Affairs Director. "What concerns AAA is this pattern of risky behavior that even goes beyond cell phone use. "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," he added.

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 Conversely, 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 **3 percent reported sending a text or email **16 percent drove without a seatbelt Despite the near-universal disapproval of texting and emailing while driving (95 percent), more than one-in-four licensed drivers (27 percent) reported sending a text or email at least once in the past 30 days, and more than one-third (35 percent) said they read a text or email while driving. Young drivers age 16-24 were even more likely with more than half (61percent) reporting having read a text or email while driving in the past month, while more than one-in-four (26 percent) reported checking or updating social media while driving.

AAA safety advisors offer the following advice to drivers tempted to talk or text on their phone:

**Turn off the phone
**Put the phone out of reach
**Pull off to a safe location to call or text
**Turn off the notification chime that tempts you to respond
**Parents should not call/text teens at times when they will be driving
**Parents should review the phone bill to see if they are talking/texting at times when they are likely to be driving

**Remember if you look away from the road for four seconds (the average texting time), at 55 mph, you travel the length of an entire football field, totally blind.

**Download an app that will auto-reply to messages when you are driving AAA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have long been leading advocates in educating motorists about the risks of distracted driving. AAA 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.

The distraction data were collected as part of the AAA Foundation's 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index, a nationally representative, probability-based survey of 3,896 U.S. residents ages 16 and older. The sample is representative of all U.S. households reachable by telephone or by regular mail. The questionnaire was made available in English and Spanish, and respondents were able to complete it in the language of their choice. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety provides additional details in the 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index and as part of a report called Distracted and Risk-Prone Drivers.

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