AAA pumps up distracted driving messaging

Distracted Driving

© Andrey Popov

During this summer of record-breaking road travel, AAA is ‘pumping’ up its ‘Don’t Drive Intoxticated, Don’t Drive ‘Intexticated’ distracted driving campaign by targeting motorists where they are most likely to see it – at gas stations.

“Distracted driving is such a widespread, dangerous and potentially deadly behavior that AAA must be innovative in its efforts to raise awareness and affect change,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Responding to a recent AAA survey, 75% of Virginia drivers say they notice more drivers distracted by electronic devices than just two years ago.

AAA’s “Don’t Drive Intoxicated, Don’t Drive Intexticated” campaign, kicked off at a distracted driving event hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department in April of this year where nearly 2,000 students took the pledge to drive distraction free.  The new gas station signage is part of AAA’s multi-year effort to reduce crashes, injuries and deaths caused by driver’s who are not paying attention.

The ‘pumped up’ messaging at select gas stations will be right on the pump handle and/or sitting atop the pumps themselves.

“We want these signs to remind drivers that using a phone while driving can have the same consequences as drinking and driving,” said Meade.  “AAA is committed to making distracted driving as socially unacceptable as drunk driving.”

Distracted Driving Statistics

  • 9 people each day are killed in the U.S. and 1,000 are injured in crashes where distracted driving occurred, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

According to the AAA Foundation’s recently released Traffic Safety Culture Index*:

  • Nearly 97% of motorists believe mobile device use while driving is an extremely or very dangerous behavior, about the same number that view driving while intoxicated to be extremely or very dangerous.
  • And yet, more than 40% of the same respondents admit they had read texts or emails on their phone at least once in the past 30 days.
  • And more than 30% admit they had typed on their devices while driving

AAA Foundation research also identified distracted driving as one of the top contributors to teen-driver related fatal crashes during the ‘100 Deadliest Days’ – the period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day when these crashes typically spike because there are more teen drivers behind the wheel.

Virginia Statistics

In a recent AAA survey of Virginia drivers:

  • 75% says they notice more drivers distracted by electronics than two years ago
  • 63% say they are ‘very concerned’ about their safety on the road because of distracted drivers

AAA’s Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

  • 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.
  • Use phone tool/APPProgram you phone to send automatic message to text sender that you are driving and which will prevent text notifications while you 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

The public is invited to take the Don’t Drive Intexticated pledge. Visit www.aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted to join this lifesaving effort.

*Survey results were released June 19, 2019, as part of the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data are from a sample of 2,582 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. www.AAAFoundation.org


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