According to a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety motorists that use cell phones while driving are more likely to engage in additional dangerous behaviors, such as speeding, driving when drowsy, driving without a safety belt and sending texts or emails. Additionally, 69% of licensed drivers reported talking on a cell phone while driving within the last month, despite the fact that 89% of respondents believe other drivers using cell phones are a threat to their personal safety. Motorists that used their cell phones ‘fairly often’ or ‘regularly’ over the last month also reported that they engaged in additional risky behaviors. The research shows: 65% also admitted speeding; 44% admitted driving while drowsy; 53% admitted sending a text or email; and 29% drove without a safety belt. Conversely, drivers that reported never using a cell phone were much less likely to report additional risky behaviors: 31% reported speeding; 14% reported driving while drowsy; 3% reported sending a text or email; and 16% drove without a safety belt.
Despite the near-universal disapproval of texting and emailing while driving (95%), 27% reported sending a text or email at least once in the past 30 days, and 35% said they read a text or email while driving. Young drivers age 16-24 were even more likely, with 61% reporting having read a text or email while driving in the past month, while 26% reported checking or updating social media while driving. The distraction data were collected as part of the AAA Foundation’s 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index, a nationally representative, probability-based survey of USA residents. Research shows that driver use of cell phones impairs reaction times and roughly quadruples crash risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 3,000 people are killed and nearly half a million are injured each year in crashes involving distraction, which is likely to be an underestimate given the problems associated with determining the role of distraction in crashes.
January 28, 2013