October is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Charlotte, N.C. (October 1, 2020) – Distracted driving is not only extremely risky, but it is also known to be a leading cause in fatal car crashes. Cell phone use behind the wheel is a major distraction that endangers lives every day and AAA encourages all motorists to put down their mobile devices and ‘Disconnect and Drive’ to kick off National Distracted Driving Awareness month.
“Distracted driving is dangerous and can have devastating consequences,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “When a driver’s attention is diverted from the road, their reaction-time slows and lives are jeopardized – that’s why focused drivers save lives.”
While most attribute texting to distracted driving, it is important to note that other behaviors such as checking and posting to social media, browsing music playlists, reading emails, etc. are all habits that can result in a fatal injury or crash. Over 22 percent of distraction-affected crashes involved confirmed use of a smartphone.
“Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok encourage users to ‘go live’ from locations and unfortunately what we’re seeing is that those locations are often inside a vehicle while driving,” added Wright.
Top 3 Risky Distractions
- Cellphone use
- In-vehicle technology
- Passengers in the vehicle
According to 2018 data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- 2,839 people were killed and 400,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers
- Looking away from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of a crash
- Five seconds of reading an email or text is like driving across a football field while blindfolded
- Mental distractions last longer than you think and can cause a dangerous crash or fatality; mental distraction can last up to 27 seconds after dialing, texting or changing the radio station
- New teen drivers are 3x as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash
Despite what some drivers may think, hands-free is not risk-free. Even with your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel, you are not safe unless your mind focuses on the drive.
AAA’s Top Tips to Avoid Distractions While Driving
- Prepare for your drive. Set vehicle systems like GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time. And please, finish dressing and personal grooming at home – before you get on the road.
- Disable or stow electronics. Never use text messaging, email, video games or internet functions, including those built into the vehicle, while driving. Stow your smartphone away, turn it to airplane mode, or activate call/text blocking features.
- Stay focused. Do not let anything divert your attention. Be sure to actively scan the road, use your mirrors, and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists. If you have passengers, enlist their help as a “designated texter”. Ask them to answer your calls, respond to texts and program the navigation.
In its fourth year in the Carolinas, AAA’s distracted driving campaign “Disconnect and Drive” aims to change behavior behind the wheel. This year the Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety teamed up with Northwest School of the Arts, GreyHawk Films, and local artists to create a music video complete with an original song to spread the traffic safety message and save lives.
VISIT Disconnectanddrive.com TO VIEW THE PSA AND TAKE THE PLEDGE TO SAVE LIVES.
About AAA – The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.