(KCBD) - April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and AAA Texas is launching a new, multi-year initiative that aims to reduce deaths and injuries as a result of cell phone use by drivers.
"Don't Drive Intoxicated – Don't Drive Intexticated" is the theme of AAA's multimedia traffic safety education campaign created to make distracted driving socially unacceptable.
The new public service announcements are designed to help audiences understand that the consequences of using a smartphone while driving are the same as drinking and driving. The campaign targets drivers who would never consider drinking a beer behind the wheel, and yet, regularly engage with mobile devices that dangerously take their eyes, hands and minds off the road.
"AAA has made traffic safety a priority since 1921, working to make roads, vehicles and drivers safer," said Linda von Quintus, Vice President of Government & Community Affairs, AAA Texas. "Through this latest initiative, AAA Texas is committed to changing attitudes and behaviors surrounding the deadly problem of distracted driving, and we will continue this effort for years to come."
The number of crashes caused by distracted drivers increased from 2015 to 2016 in Texas, however, the number of people killed by distracted drivers slightly decreased, according to TxDOT statistics.
New research released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that even though 97 percent of drivers say texting/emailing while driving is a serious or very serious threat to their safety, 45 percent admit to having read a text or email while driving in the past month, and 35 percent admit to having typed one.
Distracted driving kills an average of nine people and injures 1,000 each day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is the third leading driver-related cause of crash fatalities behind speeding and driving under the influence. And these numbers likely underestimate the problem because most drivers do not admit to distracting cell phone use after a crash.
Drivers interacting with cell phones to perform tasks like texting or surfing the Internet are two to eight times more likely to be involved in a crash.
Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of being involved in a crash.
59 percent of all teen crashes involve some form of driver inattention, and 12 percent of teen crashes involve cell phone use.
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 have to 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.
- 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.
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