According to a new survey released as part of AAA’s Traffic Safety Culture Index, distracted driving is on the rise and significantly increases the likelihood of being involved in an accident.
After compiling the results, the organization determined 49.1% of drivers admitted to talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving. Another 44.9% of drivers revealed they have read a text message or email while driving in the past month while 34.6% sent a text message or email.
Despite the figures, nearly 58 percent acknowledge talking on a cellphone in a serious threat to their safety and a further 78 percent believe texting and driving is a significant danger. Their beliefs are supported by facts as AAA data shows talking and driving increases the chances of being involved in an accident by up to four times while texting and driving increases those odds by up to eight times.
Of course, texting and talking on cellphones aren’t the only dangers. Nearly half of the respondents admitted to driving 15 mph (24 km/h) over the speed limit on highways and speeding 10+ mph (16 km/h) on residential streets. Nearly 42% also reported driving through a red light in the past month when they could have safety stopped.
If the latter figure wasn’t bad enough, 30.8% admitted to driving while being so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open. Another 13.5% reported driving while they believed they were drunk enough to be close too or above legal limits.
While the results are surprising, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research, Jake Nelson, said “There is a disconnect between what drivers do and what they believe.” As he explained, “While most recognize the dangers created by taking your eyes off the road, they engage in distracting behaviors anyway – creating a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ culture on the roadway.”