Posts Tagged ‘Distracted Driving’

ORLANDO, Fla., (January 29, 2013) – As football fans across America head to Super Bowl festivities this weekend, AAA strongly encourages revelers to arrange a safe ride home before their teams hit the field.

AAA works year round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and the injuries that can result.  PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.  Once there, AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.

While not a nationwide program, a number of AAA clubs offer Tow-to-Go or Tipsy Tow service on select dates for members and nonmembers. This service is not available everywhere.

The following AAA Clubs offer Tipsy Tow programs for the Super Bowl Game this weekend (February 3):

  • AAA Arizona (Statewide)
  • The Auto Club Group (Statewide in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Program is called “Tow-to-Go”)
  • AAA New Jersey Automobile Club (Program is offered year-round & called Safe Tow)

For a comprehensive list of other community programs listed state by state, please visit AAA’s DUI Justice Link Website.

Study Shows that “Do As I Say, Not as I Do” Attitude Prevails Among Nation’s Drivers

WASHINGTON, D.C., (January 25, 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.

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“Ninety percent of respondents believe that distracted driving is a somewhat or much bigger problem today than it was three years ago, yet they themselves continue to engage in the same activities,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “More work clearly is needed to educate motorists on the risks associated with using a cell phone while driving, especially given that most Americans believe this problem is becoming worse.”

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 (61 percent) 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.

“What concerns AAA is this pattern of risky behavior that even goes beyond cell phone use,” said Kathleen Bower, AAA vice president of public affairs. “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.”

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 pull 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.

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.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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. Visit www.aaafoundation.org or www.facebook.com/AAAFTS for more information on how you can join our cause.

New Federal Incentive Money Might Spur States to Action

WASHINGTON, D.C., (January 11, 2013) – New incentive funds from Congress could spur state legislatures to pass lifesaving safety improvements in their upcoming 2013 sessions, according to AAA.  Federal incentives for laws that ban texting while driving, improve teen driver safety and require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers align with AAA’s nationwide legislative agenda to improve highway safety and could help combat a recent uptick in highway deaths.

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“The promise of federal dollars might encourage additional states to pass needed safety improvements,” said AAA Vice President of Public Affairs Kathleen Bower. “The recent federal estimate that traffic deaths increased during the first nine months of 2012 is a reminder that safety gains are not inevitable and that continued legislative action is necessary to help reduce fatal crashes.”

The recent passage of MAP 21, the federal transportation authorization law, provides an average of $500 million annually in incentive funding for states that address many of these safety improvements.

“Progress slowed on many fronts for traffic safety advocates last year, but AAA has hope for improvements in 2013,” continued Bower. “Between the heavy toll of highway deaths and the availability of new federal funds, state policymakers have many reasons to act on road safety this year.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in December released estimates that traffic deaths increased by 7.1 percent in the first nine months of 2012 versus the same period the previous year. The estimated rate of deaths also increased, from 1.09 to 1.16 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

AAA’s top safety priorities in the states for 2013 include:

  • Distracted driving: AAA in 2009 launched a national campaign to ban text messaging while driving in all 50 states. Thirty-nine states now have laws that prohibit drivers from texting and AAA expects all 11 remaining states to consider this legislation in 2013.  Distracted driving remains a significant contributor to traffic deaths.  According to NHTSA, nine percent of fatal crashes and 18 percent of injury crashes in 2010 involved some form of distraction.
  • Teen driver safety: Graduated driver licensing (GDL) is one of the most effective means of reducing teen driving deaths. While every state has some form of GDL, nearly every state also has room for further improvements. Only six states (Del., Ind., Mich., N.Y., Okla. and W.Va.) have GDL systems that meet AAA’s guidelines for nighttime limits, passenger limits and practice requirements. AAA will also encourage states to strengthen license requirements and ban the use of wireless communications devices for novice drivers. Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens, accounting for almost one in three fatalities in this age group. Safety experts credit GDL laws for much of the 57 percent decline in traffic fatalities for 16- and 17-year-old drivers between 1995 and 2010.
  • Booster seat laws: Despite a proven ability to reduce injuries and deaths for child passengers by 45 percent, child passenger safety laws in 19 states fall short of safety experts’ guidelines recommending that all children under age eight remain in either a car or booster seat. Fla. and S.D. still do not have booster seat requirements.  Research also shows that children ages four to eight who live in states with booster seat laws are 39 percent more likely to be appropriately restrained than children in states without such laws.
  • Primary seat belt laws: AAA and other safety advocates will continue to work to change laws in the remaining 18 states without a primary belt law, increase fines in states with weak penalties and expand seat belt requirements to include backseat passengers in remaining states. Primary seat belt laws have repeatedly been shown as a low-cost way for states to quickly increase belt use, reduce traffic deaths and lower the cost of crashes. When lap/shoulder belts are used, the risk of injury to the front-seat occupants is reduced by 45 percent and states passing primary-enforcement seat belt laws should expect to see belt usage increase 10-13 percent.
  • Ignition interlocks: Only 17 states and four California counties require ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers. AAA is calling on the other 33 states to step up for safety and require ignition interlocks for all offenders. Research has identified the life-saving benefit of ignition interlocks, which are more effective than other methods at reducing repeat offenses among convicted drunk drivers while they are installed.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

WASHINGTON, D.C., (December 26, 2012) – As Americans prepare for holiday celebrations, AAA reminds drivers and passengers alike of the dangers on the roads this New Year’s Day, which consistently ranks as the year’s deadliest day for alcohol-related fatalities. To strengthen efforts to protect the public against drunk drivers and reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths, AAA is announcing its support of ignition interlocks for all convicted DUI offenders, and offers important safety advice to partygoers.

“AAA is not alone in its concern about impaired driving or strong support for tough policies for convicted drunk drivers,” said AAA Traffic Safety Advocacy Director Jake Nelson. According to the 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than nine in 10 drivers consider it a serious threat to their personal safety when others drink and drive, and nearly all (97 percent) surveyed find it unacceptable for a driver to get behind the wheel when they have had too much to drink.  To prevent these dangers, nearly eight in 10 Americans support requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted DUI offenders, even if it’s their first conviction.

Research has identified ignition interlock devices (IIDs) as a proven way to save lives. AAA’s recommendation to require the use of IIDs for all convicted offenders is grounded in research.  “Evidence clearly shows that IIDs are more effective than other methods at reducing re-arrest among convicted drunk drivers and keeping them off the road,” said Nelson.

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AAA is reaching out to motorists on the heels of a recent National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) decision to support laws requiring IID use for all first-time DUI offenders—one of several new recommendations issued to help curb alcohol-related traffic injury and death.  “I commend AAA for stepping up for safety,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. “Technologies, such as ignition interlocks, will reduce alcohol-related crashes on our nation’s roadways.  We look forward to working alongside AAA and its clubs to eliminate the nation’s top killer on our roadways – impaired driving.”

Preventing drinking and driving is a shared responsibility to save lives. While AAA advocates expanding IID use to all persons convicted of drunk driving, New Year’s Eve partygoers can do their part by heeding the following advice:

  • Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins
  • Never get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink
  • Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink
  • Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired
  • Call a taxi for a friend in need
  • Be a responsible host in reminding guests to stay safe and always offer alcohol-free beverages
  • If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself)
  • Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely

Visit PreventDUI.AAA.com for impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.  AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.

(ORLANDO, November 20, 2012) Thanksgiving is a holiday many associate with abundant food and drink, but before picking up any glasses to drink, AAA strongly encourages you to arrange a safe ride home.

AAA works year round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and the injuries that can result. PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.  Once there, AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.

While not a nationwide program, a number of AAA clubs offer Tow-to-Go or Tipsy Tow services on select dates for members and nonmembers. This service is not available everywhere. AAA strongly encourages motorists to pick a designated driver before they head out for any Thanksgiving celebrations.

*Please note availability is subject to change without notice

AAA Clubs Currently Offering a Tipsy Tow Program for Thanksgiving (November 22)

  • The Auto Club Group (Statewide in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Program is called “Tow-to-Go”)
  • AAA New Jersey Automobile Club (Morris, Essex and Union counties)
  • AAA South Dakota (Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mitchell and Yankton)
  • AAA Oklahoma (Metro Tulsa, Metro Oklahoma City, Shawnee, Bartlesville, Enid, Muskogee, Tahlequah and Lawton)
  • AAA Tidewater (Greater Hampton Roads area : Cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Yorktown and Williamsburg, VA)
  • AAA Northwest Ohio ( available in Lucas, Fulton, Wood, Henry, Williams, Defiance, Paulding and Ottawa counties)
  • AAA Northern California (in all club territories)
  • AAA Nevada ( Statewide)
  • AAA Utah (Statewide)
  • AAA Arizona (Statewide)

(ORLANDO, October 29, 2012) Before setting out for any Halloween celebrations in your best costumes or trick-or-treat outfits, AAA strongly encourages you to arrange a safe ride home.

AAA works year round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and the injuries that can result. PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.  Once there, AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.

While not a nationwide program, a number of AAA clubs offer Tow-to-Go or Tipsy Tow services on select dates for members and nonmembers. This service is not available everywhere. AAA strongly encourages motorists to pick a designated driver before they head out for any Halloween celebrations.

*Please note availability is subject to change without notice

AAA Clubs Currently Offering a Tipsy Tow Program for Halloween (October 31, 2012)

  • The Auto Club Group (Statewide in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Program is called “Tow-to-Go”)
  • AAA New Jersey Automobile Club (Morris, Essex and Union counties)
  • AAA Northern California (in all club territories)
  • AAA Nevada ( Statewide)
  • AAA Utah (Statewide)
  • AAA Tidewater (Greater Hampton Roads area : Cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Yorktown and Williamsburg, VA)

For a comprehensive list of other community programs listed state by state, please visit AAA’s DUI Justice Link Website.

AAA—the nation’s largest automobile club—is encouraged by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) first-ever federally-issued guidelines to automakers on in-vehicle electronic devices.  With the explosion of in-vehicle wireless communications technologies, automakers, safety advocates and government agencies must work together to ensure that these products can be operated safely and that they are not simply making it more convenient and more appealing to drive while distracted.

“AAA considers Secretary LaHood’s Phase I guidelines to be a step in the right direction.  But available research evidence is extremely limited and highly inconclusive on the real risks that in-car communications technologies pose to drivers, even when systems are limited to voice-activation only,” says AAA CEO and President Robert L. Darbelnet. “Until the weight of evidence suggests that safety risks are mitigated, AAA urges drivers to use caution when using these in-vehicle technologies and strive to keep their hands on the wheel, their eyes on the road, and their focus on the important driving task.” 

Additional Resources

This year, AAA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety are sponsoring groundbreaking research by the University of Utah that will enable AAA to advise consumers about the relative risk posed by various devices and technologies.  This study will help inform the wider policy discussion about the role of technology in addressing distracted driving and ultimately help educate motorists through a robust public safety campaign.

AAA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have long been leading advocates in educating motorists about the risks of distracted driving.  Most recently, AAA launched a legislative campaign in 2009 to advocate for all 50 states to enact bans on text messaging.  To date, 35 states have adopted this key traffic safety measure.  AAA also partnered with Secretary LaHood and Seventeen magazine to educate teen drivers on the dangers of distraction through the Two-Second Turn Off campaign. 

For more information or to view AAA’s videos on distracted driving, visit YouTube.AAA.com.

Distracted Driving and Teen Driver Safety Top AAA’s Nationwide Legislative Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C., (January 17, 2012) – Recent public attention to distracted driving will likely spur additional legislative activity as states convene their 2012 sessions, according to AAA. Laws that ban texting while driving and that improve teen driver safety again top AAA’s nationwide legislative agenda to improve highway safety.  

“Last month’s NTSB recommendation will lead state legislatures to consider a range of bills to address distracted driving during 2012,” said AAA Vice President of Public Affairs Kathleen Marvaso.  “Few states have given serious legislative consideration to full cell phone bans, but AAA expects continued progress in our campaign to pass laws banning texting while driving in all 50 states, as well as enacting full wireless bans for new teen drivers and laws that increase penalties for drivers who crash or commit violations while driving distracted.

“AAA will also continue to work with legislators and other safety advocates in statehouses across the country to pass lifesaving laws that improve teen driver licensing and increase seat belt and child safety seat requirements.” 

AAA’s top traffic safety priorities in the states include:

Texting while driving bans: AAA in 2009 launched a national campaign to pass laws banning text messaging while driving in all 50 states. Five states enacted these laws in 2011, increasing the number of states to 35 with laws prohibiting all drivers from texting. AAA expects nearly every one of the 15 remaining states to consider this legislation in 2012.

Teen driver safety: The push for graduated driver licensing (GDL) for new teen drivers isn’t new, yet nearly every state still has opportunities to improve these laws that save lives and reduce crashes by easing teens into driving. While some advocates focused on Congressional legislation to incentivize states to improve GDL systems, AAA worked for significant improvements in North Dakota and Pennsylvania in 2011. This year presents opportunities for states to improve safety by increasing the age and requirements for getting a license, banning the use of wireless communications devices for novice drivers, and adding or improving limits on teen passengers and nighttime driving for newly licensed teens. Just six states (Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, and West Virginia) have GDL systems that meet AAA’s guidelines for nighttime limits, passenger limits, and practice requirements. 

Booster seat laws: Despite their proven ability to reduce injuries and deaths for child passengers, three states (Arizona, Florida and South Dakota) continue without booster seat requirements. Georgia and California increased their booster seat ages in 2011, leaving 19 states with booster seat laws that fall short of meeting safety experts’ guidelines, which include all children under age 8.

Primary seat belt laws: AAA and other safety advocates will continue to work to improve laws in the remaining 18 states without a primary belt law, as well as attempt to increase fines in some states with weak penalties and expand seat belt requirements to include back seat passengers in remaining states. Primary seat belt laws have repeatedly been shown as a low cost way for states to quickly increase belt use, reduce traffic deaths, and lower the cost of crashes. 

Move over laws: Every state except Hawaii and the District of Columbia requires drivers to slow down and, if safe, “move over” when passing an emergency vehicle that is actively working on a roadway. Additionally, 45 states, including Arizona, New York and Texas, which improved their laws in 2011, also require drivers to move over for tow trucks. AAA will continue to promote these laws in the remaining states.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

For more than a decade, AAA’s simple message to drivers has been to ‘hang up and drive’.  We believe the best strategy to get drivers to make safer choices behind the wheel is a comprehensive approach that combines good laws, visible enforcement and effective public education campaigns.  While this is a complex issue, AAA considers the NTSB recommendation to be an important step in the national dialogue about the dangers of distracted driving.

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 9, 2011 –

Five states have enacted texting while driving bans this year  

AAA applauds Pennsylvania on becoming the 35th state to outlaw text messaging by all drivers. Governor Tom Corbett signed the bill into law today, making Pennsylvania the fifth state in 2011 to ban text messaging while driving.

“By banning texting while driving, Pennsylvania has continued the nationwide drive to curb one of the most dangerous forms of driver distraction,” said Robert L. Darbelnet, AAA president and CEO. “The last three years alone have shown rapid progress, with 28 states – 12 in 2009, 11 in 2010, and now five more this year – adopting this critical traffic safety measure.

“Improving safety on our nation’s roads is an ongoing commitment for AAA. The Association will continue to educate the public about the great risks associated with text messaging while driving and continue its campaign to advocate for texting bans in the remaining 15 states without these laws.”

In September 2009, AAA launched a campaign to pass texting bans in all 50 states. Pennsylvania is the 17th state to adopt this key traffic safety law during AAA’s campaign.  Legislation to ban text messaging while driving is also being considered in Ohio.                                                                                                                                

“Text messaging while driving is very dangerous but it is also one of many distractions that can divert a driver’s attention,” said Ted Leonard, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania AAA Federation. “Teen drivers are particularly susceptible to other distractions like using a cell phone, personal grooming, changing the radio/CD player and talking with passengers. This new law will do much to help deter adult and teen drivers alike from texting behind the wheel, but drivers should also steer clear from other activities that may take one’s attention from the driving task.”

The following states and the District of Columbia now prohibit text messaging by all drivers: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 

Pennsylvania’s law will become effective 120 days after enactment. Pennsylvania joins North Dakota, Indiana, Maine and Nevada in enacting text messaging bans for all drivers in 2011. The effective dates for those new laws are as follows:

  • Pennsylvania – March 8, 2012
  • Nevada – October 1, 2011
  • Maine – September 13, 2011
  • Indiana – July 1, 2011
  • North Dakota – August 1, 2011

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides nearly 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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