Thursday, June 24, 2010

Distraction Is A Problem for Adults Too, Not Just Teens

A new study released earlier this week by the Pew Research Center found that adults are as just as likely to engage in texting while driving as teens. In fact, the survey of 2,252 adults age 18 and older, which was conducted last month, found that 47% of adults who text said they had sent or received text messages while driving compared with only 34% of teens that reported doing so in study released last September. Although these findings run contrary to popular belief that teens are the primary offenders when it comes to texting, it does support the AAA Foundation’s belief that distracted driving is a problem for all drivers – regardless of age. Our 2009 TSC Index survey of more than 2,500 adults found that 87% felt that texting/emailing while driving was a very serious problem, yet 21% of those same people admitted to doing so in the previous month. Every potential distraction – eating, drinking, cell phones, passengers, etc – are things that ALL motorists need to address in their own driving behavior.

Monday, June 21, 2010

GHSA Study – More States Addressing Distracted Driving

Last week the Governors Highway Safety Association released the report, "Curbing Distracted Driving: 2010 Survey of State Safety Programs." The study cites the increasing number of states who are addressing the issue of distracted driving by collecting data and incorporating distraction into more educational materials for drivers. The report states that twenty-seven states and D.C. have made Distracted Driving a priority in their Strategic Highway Safety Plans and thirty-seven states and D.C. have public information or education campaigns warning drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

It’s wonderful to hear more states are becoming engaged in this issue and I applaud GHSA for its research. We must keep in mind that the goal of our collective efforts is to actually change driver behavior so that our roads are safer and passing legislation is one step in this direction. As GHSA Chairman Vernon F. Betkey Jr. recently said, “We need to create a traffic safety culture that does not condone driving while distracted much like we have done with drink driving.” I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment and even touched on the very same point in a recent radio interview. All of us need recognize the severity of the problem and do our part to help change things – starting with our own driving behavior.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Second Annual Traffic Safety Culture Summit

Since 2006, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been researching America’s driving beliefs, attitudes and habits through our annual national Traffic Safety Culture Index survey. The 2009 Index showed how prevalent car crashes are in our lives: Nearly a quarter of Americans have been involved in a serious motor vehicle crash in their lifetime, and more than a third have had a friend or relative seriously injured or killed. The survey also found although the public recognizes dangerous driving behaviors, they continue to engage in activities such as talking or texting on cell phones. It’s time we consider the cultural factors that define our values and govern our behavior to improve transportation safety.

Last summer the Foundation co-sponsored the first National Summit for Rural Traffic Safety Culture in an effort to promote discussion of safety culture within the transportation community. The summit attracted more than 100 researchers, officials and policymakers and resulting in unanimous resolution calling on President Obama to devote more resources to improving highway safety. We’re now finalizing preparations for this year’s summit which will be held in Big Sky, Montana from July 11-13th. Similar to the inaugural summit, discussions will focus on the role of traffic safety culture, including what it means and how it relates to behaviors, attitudes and the implementation of safety programs. Keynote speakers are set to include officials from both the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Registration is still open for anyone interested in attending.