VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (March 28, 2018) — Each day, 10 people are killed in distracted driving crashes - contributing to the 40,000 people killed in crashes on U.S. roadways during 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). To stay safe on the road during National Distracted Driving Awareness month in April and all year long, AAA is calling for drivers to keep their eyes and attention on the road and hands on the wheel.
“No distraction - whether texting or eating a sandwich - is ever worth the loss of life on the roadway,” said Dr. Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “These senseless deaths can easily be prevented if drivers simply choose to focus on the core task of driving when behind the wheel.”
Violating Virginia’s distracted driving laws can also be costly. In Virginia, text messaging and emailing while driving is prohibited for all drivers. Learner’s permit and provisional driver’s license holders under 18 years of age are subject to a complete ban on any cell phone use and school bus drivers are also banned from cell phones use while driving.
Contrary to what some drivers may think, hands-free, handheld and in-vehicle technologies are not distraction-free, even if a driver’s eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel. The latest AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research found that:
Drivers who text when behind the wheel more than double their odds of being involved in a crash;
Drivers who talk on a cell phone (either hands-free or handheld) when behind the wheel may elevate their odds of being involved in a crash;
Drivers who use in-vehicle technologies, like voice-based and touch screen features, can be distracted for more than 40 seconds when completing tasks like programming navigation or sending a text message.
Removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash, according to previous research.
Driving is a complex task that requires a driver’s full attention. AAA cautions drivers to put down their phones and don’t use hands-free, handheld or in-vehicle technologies while driving. AAA offers these tips to stay safe while on the road:
Put down your phone and other electronic gadgets.
Never use text-messaging, email functions, video games or the internet with a wireless device, including those built into the vehicle.
Designate a passenger to answer in-coming calls, send or respond to text messages and to assist with navigation when the vehicle is in motion. Only use these technologies for legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving related purposes.
AAA is a strong voice in state, local and federal government efforts to advocate for a comprehensive approach to the problem of distracted driving, through laws or regulations, funding education and research and investing in enforcement and safer roads.
“The safety of our roads has always and will continue to be a priority for AAA and its members,” said Blumling. For information on other states, visit AAA’s Digest of Motors Laws at drivinglaws.aaa.com.
As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 330,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. For more information, visit AAA.com and follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/AAATidewaterVA or Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia.