More and more motorists admit that distracted driving is becoming a bigger concern among the growing dangers on the road, yet still admit to doing it themselves, according to a new survey by the AAA Foundations for Traffic Safety.
The survey found that 88% of motorists believe distracted driving is increasing, while more than one-third admitted to sending a text or email behind the wheel and nearly half said they’ve used a hand-held phone while driving.
“With more than 37,000 deaths on U.S. roads in 2016, we need to continue to find ways to limit driving distractions and improve traffic safety,” said Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs.
According to AAA, drivers that talk on their cell phone are four times as likely to be involved in a crash, while those who text are eight times as likely to crash.
Every year, the Traffic Safety Culture Index shows a clear, “Do as I say, not as I do,” culture on the roadway. Drivers believe certain behaviors may be wrong, yet drivers do it anyway.
AAA found that 9 out of 10 drivers nationwide reported that they engaged in one of the survey’s risky behaviors during the past 30 days.
Some of the results included:
- 85% consider it unacceptable to drive 10 miles over the speed limit on a residential street; 47% have done so in the last month.
- 92% say driving through a red light when they could of stopped is unacceptable; 43% admit to driving through a red light in the past month.
- 95% view drowsy driving as unacceptable; 30% admit to driving drowsy in the last month.
- 94% consider drinking and driving is a serious threat to their personal safety; 13% reported driving at least once in the past year when they thought their alcohol levels might have been over the limit.
“People really need to start taking personal responsibility and see themselves and their own driving behaviors as part of the problem,” AAA Traffic Safety Programs Manager Diana Imondi said.
To avoid distractions while driving, motorists should put aside electronic devices, pre-program their GPS systems, adjust seats, mirrors, temperature and sound systems and properly secure children, pets and loose possessions prior to putting their car in motion.
A new “hands-free” law will take effect in Rhode Island on June 1 in efforts to decrease the number of distracted drivers on the road.
“Unfortunately for a lot of people it does take enforcement, it takes getting that traffic violation and that citation to take it seriously and really address their behaviors,” Imondi said.