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Monday, January 18, 2021

AAA Launches Initiative to Reduce Deadly Distracted Driving

Texas Distracted Driving Crash Statistics (2016)

County/Area Total Crashes Total Crashes Change from 2015

Bexar 26,305 +6.5%

Dallas 7, 081 +7.1%

Harris 14, 804 +3.1%

Tarrant 8,210 +5.9%

Travis 5,559 +11.9%

Statewide Total 109,629 +3.2%

Source: TxDOT

AAA Texas: Are You ‘Intexticated?

As part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, AAA Texas is launching a multi-year initiative aiming to reduce deaths and injuries caused by drivers’ cell phone use, a news release said.

The theme of the new multimedia traffic safety education campaign is “Don’t Drive Intoxicated – Don’t Drive Intexticated.” The goal of the campaign is to make distracted driving socially unacceptable.

New public service announcements (PSAs) have been designed to help drivers understand that the consequences of using ones phone while driving are the same as drinking and driving. The campaign aims to target drivers who would never consider drinking a beer behind the wheel, yet regularly use their mobile devices while on the road.

“AAA has made traffic safety a priority since 1921, working to make roads, vehicles and drivers safer,” Linda von Quintus, AAA Texas vice president of Government & Community Affairs, said in the release. “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.”

In the release, AAA Texas said it recognizes the impact that more than five decades of public education efforts against intoxicated driving have had across the U.S., including helped to achieve legislative changes and increased enforcement, in addition to a critical shift in public perception of drinking and driving.

Although the company acknowledges that there is still much to be done, AAA Texas points out that anti-drunk driving campaigns and efforts have helped cut the number of alcohol-impaired crash fatalities in half since the 1980s, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Distracted Driving in Texas

Statistics from Texas Department of Transportation showed a 3.2 percent statewide increase — to 109,629 — in the number of crashes caused by distracted driving from 2015-2016.

In Tarrant county, there were 8,210 distracted driving crashes in 2016, a 5.9 percent increase from 2015. Meanwhile, in Dallas county there were less crashes at only 7,081 for 2016, but their increase from 2015 was 7.1 percent.

While the number of crashes caused by distracted drivers increased, according to TxDOT statistics the number of people killed by distracted drivers slightly decreased.

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Research

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.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving kills an average of nine people per day and injures an average of 1,000 people each day.

Distracted driving is the third leading driver-related cause of crash fatalities behind speeding and driving under the influence, the AAA foundation found. Yet, these numbers likely underestimate the problem because the AAA foundation says most drivers do not admit to distracting cell phone use after a crash.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has conducted numerous studies regarding distracted driving that demonstrate:

— 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.

— Fifty-nine 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 putting your phone away, knowing where you’re going, pulling over to check notifications, asking passengers for assistance, speaking out if the driver of the vehicle is distracted, and not being a distraction.

AAA also reminds that everyone should prevent being intexticated. Just as drivers need to pay attention, so too must pedestrians and bicyclists. AAA encourages all to never call, text or play games while walking or cycling.

For more information visit AAA.com/DontDriveDistracted.

For more information on distracted driving:


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