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New AAA Survey Reveals Half of Drivers Admit to Being “Intexticated” When in Car Alone

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VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (April 1, 2021) – As traffic begins to pick up across the country with increased vaccinations and decreased pandemic restrictions, AAA Tidewater reminds drivers about the importance of focusing on the road ahead and not on their smartphones. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and AAA has just released the results of a survey to assess driver attitudes and behaviors toward distracted driving.

 

The online AAA survey revealed the following:

 

  • More than half of drivers (51 percent) admitted they text and/or email while alone in the vehicle
  • Those age 25 to 34 are even more likely (59 percent) to text and/or email while driving alone
  • A quarter (26 percent) of drivers say it’s OK to use a cell phone if they are alone and at a complete stop with no other passengers in the vehicle

 

Even though using a hand-held device is illegal while driving in many states, including Virginia, the survey suggests some drivers do so anyway and aren’t aware of the “hangover effect,” which comes from interacting with technology while on the road. In a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, researchers found drivers can experience a “hangover effect” where the mind stays distracted for up to 27 seconds after using smartphones or voice-to-text vehicle infotainment systems to send text messages, make phone calls or update social media.

 

“Even if drivers perform some of these tasks while parked, or stopped at a red light, once you stop using the technology and start moving, your mind is not fully focused on the task of driving for up to 27 seconds,” said Holly Dalby, director of public affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “This is a dangerous situation that could lead to inattentional blindness, where you’re looking at the road but not seeing what’s in front of you, putting other drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians at risk.”

 

This is the fourth year of AAA’s distracted driving prevention initiative titled “Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated.” The goal of the multi-media initiative is to remind drivers that the consequences of both alcohol-impaired driving and smartphone use behind the wheel could be the same - crashes that result in deaths and injuries. In addition to the survey, AAA is releasing a new television public service announcement (PSA) which targets drivers who text while they are alone in their vehicle.

 

AAA Tidewater Virginia is hosting a Virtual Distracted Driving Presentation for educators and traffic safety advocates on April 22, from 3:30-4:30pm. This presentation will provide new tools and resources for educating high school students and the general public about distracted driving. For more information, please contact Holly Dalby at 757-233-3833.

 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, distracted driving crashes killed 3,142 people in the U.S., an average of 9 deaths per day. That number was up 10 percent from the year before (2,839 deaths in 2018).

 

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s 2019 Traffic Safety Culture Index revealed distracted driving remains a growing traffic safety problem. The survey found most drivers (96 percent) believe typing on or reading a hand-held cellphone while driving to be very or extremely dangerous, but 39 percent admit to reading and 29 percent admit to typing on a smartphone at least once while behind the wheel within the last month.

 

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Distracted Driving Crash Data

Year

Crashes

Fatalities

Injuries

2020*

34,549

121

10,384

2019

44,443

120

13,258

2018

46,621

126

13,733

2017

50,257

208

14,656

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*2020 data not finalized and subject to change.

 

AAA encourages all motorists to eliminate distracted driving by following these tips:

 

  • Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.
  • Know where you’re going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.
  • Pull over. If you must call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.
  • Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message.
  • Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.
  • Don’t be a distraction.  Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.
  • Activate Do Not Disturb. Setting up this feature on iPhone or Android device will prevent calls from coming in while you’re driving.
  • Everyone should prevent being intexticated. Just as drivers need to pay attention, so do pedestrians and bicyclists. Never call, text or play games while walking or cycling.

           

For more information visit aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted.

As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 350,000 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.

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AAA Tidewater Virginia is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the Tidewater Virginia region (All Hampton Roads cities, including Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg; Virginia's Eastern Shore; as well as the following counties: Greensville, Surry, Brunswick, Isle of Wight, Gloucester, Lancaster, Middlesex, Richmond County, Southampton, Sussex, Mecklenburg, James City County, York, Lunenburg, Essex, King & Queen, Mathews, Northumberland, and Westmoreland).