Distracted driving continues to be a danger to everyone on the nation’s roads. In 2020, 3,138 people died in distracted driving crashes in America, according to the latest data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). AAA East Central reminds motorists that no life is worth losing to distraction and encourages all drivers to remain focused on the road ahead to save lives.
“Distracted driving is one of the fastest growing traffic safety threats,” says Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs, AAA East Central. “Any distraction, whether it’s texting or talking to a passenger, takes a motorist’s attention away from the road and can have dangerous consequences.”
Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated. is AAA East Central’s ongoing initiative to end distracted driving. The campaign reminds motorists that the consequences of alcohol-impaired driving and distracted driving can be equally as devastating. While many may think distractions are limited to cell phones, they can also include eating, changing music, adjusting the navigation, talking to other passengers, and anything else that takes attention from driving.
Many motorists are guilty of a “double standard” when it comes to distracted driving. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s 2020 Traffic Safety Culture Index found that while 96 percent of motorists believed it was very or extremely dangerous to text or email while driving, nearly 4 out of 10 drivers admitted to doing so within the previous 30 days.
To avoid distractions while driving, AAA East Central recommends that motorists:
- Put aside electronic distractions. Put smartphones away, turn them to airplane mode, or activate “do not disturb” call/text blocking features.
- Prepare for the drive. Set vehicle systems like GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road.
- Groom before leaving the house. Don’t use time behind the wheel to fix hair or makeup – this can be a deadly decision.
- Stay focused. Be sure to actively scan the road, use mirrors, and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Secure items. Properly secure items, children, and pets that can move around the vehicle and become a distraction.
- Be mindful of passengers. If there are passengers in the vehicle, enlist their help as a “designated texter.” Ask them to answer calls, respond to texts and program the navigation.
- Be a good passenger. Offer to assist the driver, and don’t distract them.
For more information, visit AAA.com/DontDriveDistracted
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 72 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. Past news releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.