For the fourth consecutive year the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Traffic Safety Culture Index has found that drivers exhibit a “Do as I say, Not As I do” attitude when it comes to using cell phones behind the wheel. According to the 2011 findings, 95% of drivers consider texting while driving a serious threat to their personal safety. Yet, more than a third of drivers admit to texting while driving in the past month. If that isn’t alarming enough, 88% of drivers also view talking on a cell phone as a safety threat, but a staggering two-thirds fess up they’ve done so themselves in the past month as well.
Addressing this disconnect among motorists thinking something is unsafe and actually doing something unsafe, is the driving force behind Heads Up Driving Week. Running from Sunday, October 2 through Saturday October 8, the Foundation and AAA are promoting this campaign to get drivers to pledge to drive distraction-free for one week. Committing to one week will remove distractions during that time and hopefully show drivers that eliminating distracting habits behind the wheel makes the road safer for everyone.
When it comes to distracted driving dangers, the facts speak for themselves:
- More than one million people have died in motor vehicle crashes over the past 25 years in the United States, including 32,788 in 2010.
- In 2009, 5,474 people were killed and an additional 448,000 were injured in distraction-related crashes.
- Studies indicate that cell phone use while driving roughly quadruples one’s risk of a traffic crash.
Driving distracted makes even the safest driver unsafe. This week the AAA Foundation is calling on all drivers to “Try it for a Week, Do it for life”. You can make the conscious and collective decision to put down the phone and become part of the solution, not the problem.