AAA: 88 Percent of Drivers Say Distracted Driving a Growing Problem

LAS VEGAS, Nev. March 29, 2018. Drivers believe that distracted driving is a growing epidemic and one of the greatest dangers facing motorists today, according to a new survey conducted by the non-profitAAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Nearly 9 out of 10 drivers surveyed by the AAA Foundation said that distracted driving (88 percent) is on the rise, ranking the action higher than other risky road behaviors such as aggressive driving (68 percent), drugged driving (55 percent) or drunk driving (43 percent).

Drivers taking the AAA survey said the problem of distracted driving has increased over the past three years, with nearly50 percent reporting that they regularly see drivers emailing or texting while driving.

The number of drivers who self-reported using a cellphone behind the wheel has jumped 30 percent since 2013, according to Foundation research. Nearly half (49 percent) of drivers reported talking on a hand-held phone while driving, and nearly 35 percent have sent a text or email.

Despite their behavior, nearly 58 percent of drivers say talking on a cellphone behind the wheel is a very serious threat to their personal safety, while 78 percent believe that texting is a significant danger.

“We have to find new ways to remind people to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones,” said Mike Blasky, spokesman for AAA Nevada. “People know this is a dangerous behavior, but many of them do it anyway.”

While there were fewer instances of distracted driving reported in the latest federal statistics, distracted driving remains one of the most underreported traffic safety issues, according to AAA.

In a previous study, the AAA Foundation used in-vehicle dash-cam videos to determine that distraction was a factor in 58 percent of teen crashes, 44 percent more than federal estimates. AAA’s study showed that drivers talking on a cellphone are up to four times as likely to crash, while those who text are up to eight times as likely to be involved in a crash.

“There are after-the-fact tests to determine whether a driver is intoxicated on drugs or alcohol, but there’s no consistent method for tracking how distraction plays a role in crashes,” said Blasky. “When AAA put cameras in cars, we saw how prevalent distracted driving really is.”

The new survey results are 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 2,613 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. The AAA Foundation issued its first Traffic Safety Culture Index in 2008, and the latest report is online at http://www.aaafoundation.org/

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, established in 1947, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur. Visitwww.AAAFoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

AAA Nevada offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to its 4 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 117 years ago. Visit AAA.com for more information.
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